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• r 


v^A '^ v^ 

^-^ ^"^ j._. 


XT > 

. t 


A.S Seen and Described 
by Famous Writers 

Edited ajtd Translated by 


Open," Hid IraniUler tf" The Miiiic 
Dramu of Richard Wagner." 


Dodd, Mead and Company 

PUBUC lifiiUftY 


il5:r c J 

Copyright, 1902, 
By DODD, mead & COMPANY 

First Edition, Published, September, 1902 


• • 

• « % 


IN this work, which is a compilation of views and 
impressions of the British metropolis, I have followed, 
in some measure, the plan of my former book on 
Paris in selecting from a vast number of works descriptions 
of such external characteristics *of the city as are recorded 
by travellers and famous native and foreign writers. In 
Parisy the selections, as a rule, are devoted to special monu- 
ments, while in this book they deal laigely with general 
impressions of various sections of the great city. However, 
there will be found descriptions of many of the chief monu- 
ments, the streets, the squares, the parks, the old churches 
and civic buildings with associations, besides much interest- 
ing historical matter ; but I have almost entirely neglected i 
including articles on the London of the past and have re- 
stricted myself to the London of the Nineteenth Century. 

Comparatively few of those who are ready to admit the 

greatness of London and to whom the name alone suggests 

a wealth of romantic and historical interest, realize that the 

marvellous city on the Thames has special charms beneath 

its canopy of smoke and fog for the artist and lover of the 

picturesque. This quality has been insisted upon in the 

1 following pages, wherein much space has been given to the 

c river, the docks and out-of-the-way nooks and corners that 

7* have aroused the enthusiastic admiration of many writers. ' 

^ The London fog, which is so much abused, as a rule, has 

* its apologist and eulogist here. Tbe immensity of the city 

Y is fully brought out in the brilliant essays of Mr. G. W. 

•1 v' 



Steevens and Sir Walter Besant, and the character of the 
various districts is revealed in many of the articles. 
Various types of Londoners are sketched in the extracts 
from the writings of Dickens, Gautier, Steevens and others. 

It may be asked why more citations from Dickens and 
some from Thackeray iare not included, but these groat 
novelists who have described their London with such 
power and charm, have used their descriptions as back- 
grounds for their stories, and one cannot separate their 
pictures from their scenes with any degree of success. 

The general plan I have followed is to begin in the East 
and follow the Thames westwards, stopping on the way to 
describe the most famous streets and monuments. The 
work will thus serve the purpose of an artistic and 
literary guide-book, which I hope will give a fairly compre- 
hensive view of the city to those who know London by 
personal experience; to those who are planning a visit 
there ; and to those who enjoy studying in their homes the 
great cities of the world from various points of view, — a 
study at oiice attractive and broadening, as it brings the 
student into relation with the art, the history and the con- 
temporary life of other nations. While this work does not 
pretend to enter into competition with the enormous num- 
ber of works upon London, its value consists in the collec- 
tion of well-written essays, which I hope will prove useful 
and entertaining to the traveller and general reader. 

My thanks are offered to the Century Company for kind 
permission to print extracts from Sir Walter Besant's East 


New Torkg February, igo2. 



Sonnet — ^Weitmioster Bridge ziii 


Greatness of London i 

G. W. Steevens 

Grettness of London ....... 6 

Augustus J, C, Hare 

Historical Associations 23 

Charles Dickens 

•London a Nation 26 

Philip Gilbert Earner fn 

The Streets 28 

Charles Diekens 

• A Day in London 42 

Thiophile Gautier 

• London the Provincial 58 

G. W. Steevens 


East London . . . . . . 62 

Sir Walter Besant 

The Immensitj of the Docks 66 

Edmunde De Amicis 

The Pool 74 

Sir Walter Besant 



The Monument 78 

J. Saunders 

The Tower of London 84 

WiUiam Hef worth Dixon 

Bishopgtte Street and Great St. Helen's • • • 93 

Percy Fitzgerald 

The Apotheosis of Dirt 97 

G. W. Steevens 

y London from Above 102 V 

F. M. Holmes 

St. Paurs 113 

Justin McCarthy 

St. Paul's Churchyard 121 

Leigh Hunt 

Christ's Hospital 125 

Charles Lamb 

\i City Walb 132' 

Percy Fitzgerald 

Aspects of a Modem Sunday i^i 

G. fF. Steepens 

The Gmldhall 147 

Augustus J, C. Hare 

The Lord Mayor's Show 153 

F. W. Fairholt 

The Crossing of London 160 

G. W. Steevens 


Id Praiie of London Fog 171 

M, H. Dziewuki y 

y'Sleq>leu London 177 

G. W. Steevens 

Su Sanour^i Church . . ' . • .183 

Edward Waffd 

The Thames and iu Bridges 189 

Theodore Andrea Cook 

Lambeth Palace 198 

William Gasfej 

^M^ne 203 

6. W. Steevens 

Waterloo Bridge 209 

Percy Fitzgerald 

The Hooses of Parliament 213 

Percy Fitzgerald 

Westminster Abbey 220 

Washington Irving 

Whitehall 232 

William Gasfey 

Changes at Charing Cross 237 

Austin Dobson 

The Strand 243 

Augustus J, C. Hare 

CoTcnt Garden ••••.«•• 249 

Montagu Williams 


Three Old Thettres 256 

H. Barton Baker 

V The Middle Temple • «69 \/ 

W. J. Lrftu 

The Pawnbroker's Shop 283 

Char Us Dickens 

Hyde Park ^qx 

John Ashton 

Old London Squares 299 

Percy Fitzgerald 

St. James's Pakce . 306 

fV. Weir 

"^^y 311 

Francis Watt 

Piccadilly 3,8 

G. 5. Street 

Pall Mall 322 

Augustus J. C Hare 

Clubs 328 

Joseph Hatton 

Street Architecture 335 

G. Laurence Gomme 

The Unstable Rich 3^ 

G. W. Steepens 


London Bridge 

The Mansbn Houae and Chetpride 

Rotten Row . . 

The Brituh Mnteom 

Victoru Docks 

The Cattom Hoiue 

The River at Westmlniter 

The Pool and Billingsgate 

East India Docks 

The Pool and London Bridge 

The Monoment 

The Tower and Traitors' Gate 

The Thames and Tower Bridge 

Tra&Igar Square 

St. Paul's Cathedral 

Christ's Hospital . 

The Bank of England 

Wentworth Sti;^, Whitechapel 

The Gmldhall 

Lodgate Hill 

Chdset Bridge 

Westminster Bridge 

Fleet Street and Ladgate Hill 

St. Savioor's, Southwark . 

St. Saviour's, Southwark (interior) 

Southwark Bridge . 

Blackfiiars' Bridge . 

Embankment from Waterloo Bridge 


Facing Page 





• f 



















Hoiues of Parliament 

Westminster Abbey (interior) . 

Charing Cross 

Covent Garden Market 

Nfiddle Temple HaU 

Hyde Park .... 

St. George's Church, Hanover Square 

St. James's Palace . 

Hyde Park Corner 

Piccadilly Circus 

Guards' Club, PaU Mall . 

Regent Street 

Facing Page 





" Earth has not anythisg to show more fair ; 
Doll would he be of soul who could pass hj 
A sight so touching in its majesty : 
This City now doth, like a garment wear 
The beauty of the morning ; silent, bare. 
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie 
Open unto the fields, and to the^sky ; 
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air 
Never did sun more beautifully steep 
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill ; 
Ne'er saw I, never felt a calm so deep ! 
The river glideth at his own sweet will : 
Dear God ! the very houses seem asleep ; 
And all that mighty heart is lying still ! " 

— Wordsworth. 


.•■.■• . « 

THK f4F w vr»RK 




OU know London ? " asked the taskmaster. 
"London," I answered; "why, of course I 
do. I've lived in London " 

" Then, can you tell me — what nobody else seems to be 
able to do— -why London is so enormous, and always in- 
creasing ? " 

" You see," I answered idiotically, " Pve been away in 
India. No, I'm hanged if I can. What do they all do ? " 

" Yes, what do they do ? I went out on my bicycle into 
the country the other day, and I counted over a hundred 
people bicycling — on a week-day." 

" I see scores every day, too, riding and bicycling and 
golfing, and some even trying to patch up broken auto- 

" And then at Lord's or the Crystal Palace " 

"Or at Hampton Court, or at concerts, or at Earl's 
Court ^" 

" Do you know," said he solemnly, ^^ there must be at 
least a hundred thousand people holiday-making in London 
every day." 

" And nobody knows who they are, or where they come 
from, or why they have nothing to do." 

" What a place London is ! And we know nothing at 
all about it." 

With that I perceived the drift of the taskmaster's con- 
versation. He was luring me into professing an interest in 



London^ and the next step would be a request for articles. 
Well, why not ? Why not travel in London ? 

^^You talk about the contrasts of Bombay," he cried, 
dissembling his enthusiasm no longer. , ^^ What can com- 
pare with the contrasts of London ? Lascars in Stepney 
and French in Soho, lodging-houses in Bloomsbury, where 
nobody goes but Spaniards or New Zealanders ** 

« Or Babus." 

^^ Indian princes," he corrected. ^^But never mind 
about the foreigners ; think of London itself. Think of 
the kinds of life. There's the lodging-house life — do you 
ever notice the language of the advertisements: ^Bed 
sitting, partial board, h. and c' i — we know something 
about that. But what do we know about the riverside life, 
the suburban life — or lives ? — Brixton isn't a bit like West 
Ham — the night life, the undei^ground life? Think: in 
one day you can be at Plumstead and see them firing the 
big guns, at Epsom and see them training a horse, at St. 
Paul's for a service, at the Oval for a cricket-match, and 
wind up with a dinner-party in Mayfair." 

He was going too fast for me. ^^I don't think you 
could get from Plumstead to E4>som in one day," I said, 
" unless you walked." 

^^Well, there you are again," he cried with renewed 
enthusiasm. ^' The communications of London ! Do you 
know that London is the most backward white man's city 
in the world ? " 

^^ It's certainly behind Colombo .or Madras, or Cairo, or 
Leadville, Colo., " I admitted. 

^^ The most backward white man's city in the world," he 
repeated with a kind of boastful shame. ^' Did you ever 
travel by omnibus ? Think of it — a mediseval box on 
wheels, drawn by two obsolete horses^ going an antcdiluviaa 


six miles an hour, blocking up the street. And that's the 
vehicle of London. Haven't you noticed that they've 
actuaUy increased of late years? Do you know" — he 
spoke slowly, as if fearing to be unjustly severe — ^^ I 
believe London people like travelling by omnibus." 

^I know they'll walk miles out of their way to find 
one," I said. 

^ Wonderful ! Really, London is by far the most won- 
derful of all capitals. Then the little bits of progress you 
find tucked away in corners as if they were ashamed of 
themselves. Cable^ars in Brixton and Highgate " 

^ Oh ! Is that running again ? " 

** That running ? Of course : how little you know of 
London, after all! But those are the only mechanical 
tramways in all London." 

^ Unless you count the City and South London." 

" The what ? " 

^ City and South London— electric Underground Rail- 
way from Stockwell to the Monument." 

^ Good gracious ! I've never heard of it." 

^ Never heard of it ! Why, it's been running ten years : 
how little you know of " 

^ Ah, but that's just what I was saying. London knows 
notbii^ of itself. Did you ever hear of Mr. Baxter's 
steam omnibus ? That was about 1830, and all London 
was excited about it. Now you might start a steam 
omnibus or a petroleum perambulator anywhere you like in 
London, and the rest of London would never hear of it. 
Kensington knows nothing of West Ham." 

**• And West Ham doesn't know where Ham is." 

^ How should it ? Then what do we know about the 
history of London ? A little from Pepys and Horace 
Walpole — but before that ? Tudor London ; monastic 


London. Did you ever see that monument in Hyde Park 
that says the spring beneath it was granted to the monks 
for a perpetual water-supply ? ** 

^ Never heard of it. But do you know that Oliver 
Cromwell tried to drive^ a four-in-hand in Hyde Park? 
The horses bolted, and Cromwell was thrown oiF the box 
on to the pole, slipped oiF that and caught his foot in the 
harness, and was dragged along ; a pistol went off in his 
pocket, and after all he got oiF unhurt." 

^ You don't say so : I never heard of that. But I know 
that in James the First's reign some men were hung for 
deer-stealing in the Park. Well — then think of the vil- 
lages in London. You don't know them ? Well, there's 
that street — High Street, I think it's called — from Shaftes- 
bury Avenue into Oxford Street. Did you ever see such 
a typical village street ? High Street you see — the village 
street overtaken and swallowed by London. It was the 
village of St. Giles's. If you had been hanged at Tyburn 
you would have been dragged on a hurdle along High Hol- 
born, and at St. Giles's they'd have given you a bowl of 
ale at the leper hospital that used to be there. Then you 
went on and were hanged in Connaught Square. Or take 
Marylebone High Street. It's hardly a hundred years since 
people lived there in the country, and drove up to town in 
their coaches. Well, then, another thing — ^the small trades 
— the small parasitic trades of London. Do you know — 
I met an old man the other day who makes his living by 
selling favours to cabmen to put on their horses' heads. 
That by day — and at night he sells sweets to cabmen and 
railway pprters. What do you think of that for a trade i 
And he said he made a very good living." 

^^ Well, I knew the wife of a man who made his living 
by drilling worm-holes in sham old furniture. His wife 


came to me and said her man was out of work, sick. 
' What's his trade ? * I asked. ' Oh, Vs a worm-eater/ 
she said. ^ No wonder he's ill,' said I, and then she ex- 
plained what a worm-eater is." 

^ " It's simply endless. The trades of London, the cries 
of London, the languages of London, the beauties of Lon- 
don ^" 

" The sewers of London 
"The food of London — 
"The vices of London — 


"The charities of London 
" The follies of London — 

"The amusements of London 

" The loneliness of London — ^yes, it*s simply 

" Endless. And we know 

"Nothing — 

" At all about it.' 

" I shall begin," I said resolutely, " to explore London 


we Know 



IR, the happiness of London is not to be conceived 
but by those who have been in it. I will venture 
to say there is more learning and science within 
the circumference of ten miles from where we sit than in 
all the rest of the kingdom." Such was the dictum of 
Dr. Johnson when he was seated with Boswell in the Mitre 
Tavern near Temple Bar, and how many thousands of peo- 
ple before and since have felt the same cat-like attachment 
as the old philosopher to the vast town of multitudinous 
life and ever-changing aspects ? As Cowper says, — 

" Where hat Pleasure such a field. 
So rich» so thronged, to drained, to well supplied. 
As London — opulent, enlarged, and still 
Increasing London.'* 

Macaulay had the reputation of having walked through 
every street in London, but if we consider the ever-grow- 
ing size of the town we cannot believe that anyone else will 
ever do so : for more people live in London already than in 
the whole of Denmark or Switzerland, more than twice as 
many as in Saxony or Norway, and nearly as many as in 
Scotland. And, if we trust to old prophecies, London has 
still to be doubled in circumference, for Mother Shipton 
says that the day will come when Highgate Hill shall be in 
the middle of the town. Few indeed are the Londoners 

who see more than a small circuit around their homes, the 


t ' 



main arteries of mercantile life, and some of the principal 
sights. It is very easy to live with eyes open, but it is 
more usual, and a great deal more fashionable, to live with 
eyes shut. Scarcely any man in what is usually called 
" society '* has the slightest idea of what there is to be seen 
in his own great metropolis, because he never looks, or still 
more perhaps, because he never inquires, and the archi* 
tectural and historical treasures of the city are almost as 
unknown to the West End as the buried cities of Bashan 
or the lost tombs of Etruria. Strangers also, especially 
foreigners, who come perhaps with the very object of see- 
ing London, are inclined to judge it by its general aspects, 
and do not stay long enough to find out its more hidden re- 
sources. They never find put that ih€ LoHdon of Brook 
Street and Grosvenor Street, still more the odious London 
of Tyburnia, Belgravia, and South Kensington, is as dif- 
ferent to the London of our great-grandfathers as modern- 
ized Paris is to the oldest town in Brittany, and dwellers in 
the West End do not ki^ow that they might experience al- 
most the refreshment and tonic of going abroad in the 
transition from straight streets and featureless houses to 
the crooked thoroughfares half-an-hour ofF, where every 
street has a reminiscence, and every turn is a picture. 
There is a passage in Heinrich Heine which says, ^* You 
may send a philosopher to London, but by no means a poet. 
The bare earnestness of everything, the colossal sameness, 
the machine-like movement, oppresses the imagination and 
rends the heart in twain.** But those who know London 
well will think that Heine must have stayed at an hotel in 
Wimpole Street, and that his researches can never have 
uken him much beyond Oxford Street and its surround- 
ii^s ; and that a poet might find plenty of inspiration, if he 
would do what is so easy, and break the ice of custom, and 


see London as it really is — in its strange varieties of so- 
ciety, in its lights and shadows of working life, in its end- 
less old buildings which must ever have a hold on the 
inmost sympathies of those who look upon them, and who, 
while learning the story they tell of many generations, 
seem to realize that they are ^^ in the presence of their fame 
and feel their influence." 

An artist, after a time, will find London more interesting 
than any other place, for nowhere are there such atmos- 
pheric effects on fine days, and nowhere is the enormous 
power of blue more felt in the picture; while the soot, 
which puts all the stones into mourning, makes everything 
look old. The detractors of the charms of London always 
lay their strongest emphasis upon its fogs — 

<* More like a distillation of mud than anything else ; the ghoit 
of mud, — the spiritualized medium of departed mud, through 
which the dead citizens of London probably tread, in the Hades 
whither they arc translated." — Hatothorne, Note-books. 

But if the fogs are not too thick an artist will find an ad- 
ditional charm in them, and will remember with pleasure 
the beautiful effects upon the river, when only the grand 
features remain, and the ignominious details are blotted out ; 
or when ^^ the eternal mist around St. Paul's is turned to a 
glittering haze." In fact, if the capitals of Europe are 
considered, London is one of the most picturesque — far 
more so than Paris or Vienna ; incomparably more so than 
St. Petersburg, Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Brussels, or 

No town in Europe is better supplied with greenery than 
London : even in the City almost every street has its tree. 
And pity often is ill bestowed upon Londoners by dwellers 
in the country, for the fact is all the best attributes of the 


country are to be found in the town. The squares of the 
West End, with their high railings, and ill-kept gardens, 
are certainly ugly enough, but the parks are full of beauty, 
and there are walks in Kensington Gardens which in early 
spring present a maze of loveliness. Lately too, since 
window gardening has become the fashion, each house has 
its boxes of radiant flowers, enlivening the dusty stone- 
work or smoke-blackened bricks, and seeming all the more 
cheerful from their contrast. Through the markets too all 
that is the best in country produce flows into the town : 
the strawberries, the cherries, the vegetables, are always 
finer there than at the places where they are grown. 
Milton, who changed his house oftener than anyone else, 
and knew more parts of the metropolis intimately, thus 
apostrophizes it — 

" Oh dty, founded by Dardanian hands. 
Whose towering front the circling realms commands* 
Too blest abode ! no loveliness we see. 
In all the earth, but it abounds m thee." 

There is a certain class of minds, and a laijge one, which 
stagnates in the country, and which finds the most luxu- 
rious stimulant in the ceaseless variety of London, where 
there is always so much to be seen and so much to be 
beard, and these make so much to be thought of. 

" I have passed all my days in London, until I have formed u 
many and u intense local attachments, as any of you mountaineers 
can have done with dead nature. The lighted shops of the Strand 
and Fleet Street; the innumerable trades, tradesmen, and cus- 
tomers, coaches, waggons, playhouses ; all the bustle and wicked- 
ness round about Covent Garden ; the watchman, drunken scenes, 
notles ; — life awake, if you awake, at all hours of the night ; the 


iropouibility of bemg dull in Fleet Street ; the crowdi, the very 
dirt and mud, the sun shining upon houses and pavements, the 
print-shops, the old book-stalls, parsons cheapening books, coffee- 
houses, steams of soups from kitchens, the pantomimes — ^London 
itself a pantomime and a masquerade — all these things work them- 
selves into my mind, and feed me without a power of satiating me. 
The wonder of these sights impels me into night-walks about her 
crowded streets, and I often shed tears in the motley Strand from 
fulness of joy at so much life. ... I consider the clouds 
above me but as a roof beautifully painted, but unable to sadsfy the 
mind ; and at last, like the pictures of the apartment of a con- 
noisseur, unable to afford him any longer a pleasure. So fiiding 
upon me, from disuse, have been the beaudes of Nature, u they 
have been confinedly called ; so ever fresh, and green, and warm, 
are all the invendons of men, and assemblies of men in this great 
city." — Charles Lamb to fTorJitoorth, Jan, 30, 1801. 

^^Many derivations are given for the name London. 
Some derive it from Lhwn-dinas, the ^^ City in the 
Wood ; ** others from Llongdinas, the *^ City of Ships \ 
others from Llyndun, the ^^ Hill Fortress by the Lake. 
Geoffrey of Monmouth says that Brute ^^builded this 
citie " about B. c. ioo8. From the time at which it is re- 
ported to have been founded by Brute, says Brayley, ^^ even 
fable itself is silent in regard to its history, until the century 
immediately preceding the Roman invasion.'* ^ Then King 
Lud is said to have encircled it with walls, and adorned it 
^^with fayre buildings and towers.*' The remains found 
certainly prove the existence of a British city on the site 
before the Londinium, or Colonia Augusta, spoken of by 
Tacitus and Ammianus Marcellinus, which must have been 
founded by the Roman expedition under Aulus Piautius in 

^ Londiniana. 



A. D. 43. Tacitus mentions that it was already the great 
^ mart of trade and commerce " and the ^^ chief residents 
of merchants," when the revolt of the Iceni occurred under 
Boadicea in a. d. 61, in which it was laid waste with fire 
and sword. It had however risen from its ashes in the 
time of Severus (a. d. 193-21 i), when Tacitus describes it 
as ^ illustrious for the vast number of merchants who re- 
sorted to it, for its extensive commerce, and for the abun- 
dance of every kind of commodity which it could supply." ^ 
Stow says that the walls of London were built by Helena, 
mother of Constantine the Great, ^^ about the year of 
Christ 306," at any rate there is little doubt that they were 
erected in the Fourth Century. They were rather more 
than two miles in circumference, defended by towers, and 
marked at the principal points by the great gates, Aldgate, 
Bishopsgate, Cripplegate, Aldersgate, and Ludgate. The 
best fragments of the old wall remaining are to be seen op- 
posite Sion College, and in the churchyard of St. Giles, 
Crippl^ate: there is also a fragment in St. Martin's 
Court on Ludgate Hill. Quantities of Roman antiquities, 
tessellated pavements, urns, vases, etc., have been found 
from time to time within this circuit, especially in digging 
the foundations of the Goldsmiths' Hall, and of the Hall 
of Commerce in Threadneedle Street. For a long time 
these remains were carelessly kept or not kept at all, but 
latterly some of them have been collected in the admirable 
little museum under the Guildhall. Several Roman ceme- 
teries have been discovered, one of them by Sir Christopher 
Wren when he was laying the foundation of the new St. 
Paul's. All the excavations show that modern London is 
at least fifteen feet higher than the inexplicable process 

> Anxiali Lib. ziv. c. 35. 


which entombed the Roman Forum, and covered many of 
its temples with earth up to the capitals of the columns. 

Very little is known of London in Saxon times except 
that St. Paul's Cathedral was founded by Ethelbert, in 6io, 
in the time of King Sebert. Bede, who mentions this, 
describes London as an ^^ emporium of many nations who 
arrived thither by land and sea." London was the strong- 
hold of the Danes, but was successfully besieged by Alfred, 
and Athelstan had a palace here. His successor Ethelred 
the Unready was driven out again by the Danes under 
Sweyn. On the death of Sweyn, Ethelred returned, and 
his son Edmund Ironside was the first monarch crowned in 
the capital. London grew greatly in importance under 
Edward the Confessor, who built the Palace and Abbey of 
Westminster, and it made a resistance to the Conqueror 
which was for some time effectual, though, on the submis- 
sion of the clergy, he was presented with the keys of the 
City and crowned at the Confessor's tomb. He immedi- 
ately tried to conciliate the citizens, by granting them the 
charter, which, written in the Saxon language, on a strip of 
vellum, is still preserved amongst the City archives. 

" William the King greeteth William the Bishop and Godfi-ey 
the Portreeve, and all the burgesses within London, both French 
and English. And I declare that I grant yon all to be law-worthy 
u ye were in King Edward's days. And I will that every child 
be his Other's hdr after his Other's days. And I will not suffer 
that any man do you wrong. God preserve you.'' 

Fuller says that London ^^ is the second city in Christen- 
dome for greatnesse, and the first for good government/' 
Its chief officer under the Saxons was called the Portreeve. 
After the Conquest the French word Maire, from Major, 
was introduced. We first hear of a Mayor of London in 


the reign of Henry II. His necessary qualifications are, 
that he shall be free of one of the City Companies, have 
served as Sheriff, and be an Alderman at the time of his 
election. ^ The name of Alderman is derived from the title 
of a Saxon noble, eald meaning old, talder elder. It is 
applied to the chief officer of a ward or guild and each 
Alderman of London takes his name from a ward. The 
Gty Companies or Merchant Guilds, though branches of the 
Corporation, have each a distinct government and peculiar 
liberties and immunities granted in special charters. Each 
Company has a Master and other officers, and separate 
HaUs for their business or banquets. The oldest of the 
Companies is the Weavers, with a charter of 11 64. Then 
come the Parish Clerks, instituted in 1232, and the Sad- 
dlers, in 1280. The Bakers, Goldsmiths, Skinners, 
Grocers, Carpenters, and Fishmongers, all date from the 
Fourteenth Century. There are ninety-one Companies, 
but of these twelve are the most important, viz. — 


Merchant Tailors 











In the second year of Elizabeth the pictorial map of 
Ralph Aggas was published, which shows how little in those 
days London had increased beyond its early boundaries. 
Outside Aldgate, Bishopsgate, and Cripplegate, all was still 
complete country. ^^ The Spital Fyeld " (Spitalfields) and 

1 The Lord Mayor is elected on Michaelmas Day, but '< Lord Mayor's 
Day " is November 9. 


^^ Finsburie Fyeld " were archery grounds : Moorfields was 
a marsh. St. Giles, Cripplegate, was the church of a little 
hamlet beyond the walls. Farther west a few houses in 
^^ Little Britanne " and Cock Lane clustered around the 
open space of ^^ Schmyt Fyeld," black with the fires of 
recent martyrdoms. A slender thread of humble dwellings 
straggled along the road which led by Holboume Bridge 
across the Fleet to St. Andrew's Church and Ely Place, but 
ceased altogether after ^^ Holbourne Hill " till the road 
reached the desolate village and leper-hospital of St Giles- 
in-the-Fields. A wide expanse of open pasture-land, only 
broken by Drury House and the Convent Garden of West- 
minster, extended southward from St. Giles's to the Strand, 
where the houses of the great nobles lined the passage of 
the sovereign from the City to the small royal city and 
great palace of Westminster. From Charing Cross, St, 
Martin's Lane and the Haymarket were hedge-girt roads 
leading into a solitude, and there was scarcely any house 
westwards except the Hospital of St. James, recently turned 
into a palace. 

After the time of Elizabeth, London began to grow 
rapidly, though Elizabeth herself and her immediate suc- 
cessors, dreading the power of such multitudes in the 
neighbourhood of the Court, did all they could to check it. 
In July, 1580, all persons were prohibited from building 
houses within three miles of any of the City gates, and, in 
1602, a proclamation was made for ^^restraining the in* 
crease of buildings," and the ^' voyding of inmates " in the 
cities of London and Westminster, and for three miles 
round. But in spite of this, in spite of the Plague which 
destroyed 68,596 people, and the Fire which destroyed 
13,200 houses, the great city continued to grow. Latterly 
it has increased so rapidly westwards, that it is impossible 


to define the limits of the town. It has been travelling 
west more or less ever since the time of the Plantagenets i 
— from the City to the Strand, and to Canonbury and 
Clerkenwell; then, under the Stuart kings, to the more 
northern parts of the parish of St. Clement Danes and to 
Whitehall ; then, under William III. and Anne, to Blooms* 
buiy and Soho ; under the early Georges, to the Portland 
and Portman estates, then to the Grosvenor estates, and 
lastly to South Kensington. By its later increase the town 
has enormously increased the wealth of nine peers, to whom 
the greater portion of the soil upon which it has been built 
belongs — i. /., the Dukes of Portland, Bedford, and West- 
minster ; the Marquises of Exeter, Salisbury, Northampton, 
and the Marquis Camden ; the Earl Craven and Lord 
Portman. No one can tell where the West End will be 
next year. It is always moving into the country and never 
arriving there. Generally Fashion ^^is only gentility 
moving away from vulgarity and afraid of being overtaken 
by it,'* but in this case it is also a perpetual flight before 
the smoke, which still always drives westwards, so that 
when the atmosphere is thickest in Brompton, the sky is 
often blue and the air pure in RatcliflF Highway. 

In all the changes of generations of men and manners 
in London, the truth of the proverb, ^^ Birds of a feather 
flock together," has been attested by the way in which the 
members of the same nationalities and those who have fol- 
lowed the same occupations have inhabited the same dis- 
trict. Thus, French live in the neighbourhood of Leicester 
Square and Soho, Italians in Hatton Garden, and Germans 
in the east of London. Thus, Lawyers live in Lincoln's 
Inn and the Temple; Surgeons and Dentists in Geoijge 
Street and Burlington Street; Doctors in Harley Street; 
and retired Indians in Cavendish Square and Portman 


Square, with their adjoining streets, which have obtained 
the name of Little Bengal. Thus, too, you would go to 
look for Booksellers in Paternoster Row, Clockmakers in 
Clerkenwell, Butchers in Newgate and Smithfield, Furniture 
Dealers in Tottenham Court Road, Hatmakers in South- 
wark. Tanners and Leather-dressers in Bermondsey, Bird 
and Bird-cage sellers near the Seven Dials, Statuaries in the 
Euston Road, and Artists at the Boltons. 

The poorest parts of London also have always been its 
eastern and northeastern parishes, and the district about 
Soho and St. Giles-in-the-Fields. So much has been said 
and written of the appearance of poverty and crime which 
these streets present, that those who visit them will be sur- 
prised to find at least outward decency and a tolerably 
thriving population ; though of course the words of Cowley 
are true — 

** The monster London, 

*^fe ^^ ^^ ^l# 

^^ ^^ ^^ ^1^ 

Let but thy wicked men from out thee go» 
And all the fools that crowd thee so» 
Even thou, who dost thy millions boast, 
A village less than Islington wilt grow 
A solitude almost.'' 

The great landmarks are the same in London now that 
they were in the time of the Plantagenets : the Tower is 
still the great fortress; London Bridge is still the great 
causeway for traffic across the river; St. Paul's and 
Westminster Abbey are still the great churches ; and West- 
minster Palace is only transferred from the sovereign to the 
legislature. The City still shows by its hills — Ludgate 
Hill, Cornhill, and Tower Hill — why it was chosen as the 
early capital. One feature however of old London is an- 


nihilated — all the smaller brooks or rivers which fed the 
Thames are buried and lost to view. The Eye Bourne, the 
Old Bourne, and the Wall Brook, though they still burrow 
beneath the town, seem to have left nothing but their 
names. Even the Fleet, of which there are so many un- 
flattering descriptions in the poets of the last century, is 
entirely arched over, and it is diflicult to believe that there 
can ever have been a time when Londoners saw ten or 
twelve ships at once sailing up to Holborn Bridge, or still 
more that they can have gone up as high as Baggnigge 
Wells Road, where the discovery of an anchor seems to 
testify to their presence. Where the aspect is entirely 
changed the former character of London sites is often 
pleasantly recorded for us in the names of the streets. 
"Hatton Garden," "Baldwin's Gardens," and "Whet- 
stone Park " keep up a reminiscence of the rural nature of 
a now crowded district as late as the time of the Stuarts, 
though with ^^ Lincoln's Inn Fields," and " Great and 
Little Turnstile," they have a satirical effect as applied to 
the places which now belong to them. In the West End, 
Brook Street, Green Street, Farm Street, Hill Street, and 
Hay Hill, commemorate the time, two hundred years ago, 
when the Eye Bourne was a crystal rivulet running down- 
hill to Westminster through the green hay-fields of Miss 
Mary Davies. 

Few would re-echo Malcolm's exclamation, "Thank 
God, old London was burnt," even if it were quite true, 
which it is not. The Fire destroyed the greater part of 
London, but gave so much work to the builders that the 
small portion unburnt remained comparatively untouched 
till the tide of fashion had flowed too far westwards to 
make any systematic rebuilding worth while. It is over 
the Gty of London, as the oldest part of the town, that its 


chief interest still hovers. Those who go there in search 
of its treasures will be stunned on week-days by the 
tourbillion of its movement, and the constant eddies at all 
the great crossings in the whirlpool of its business life, such 
as no other town in Europe cati show. But this also has 
its charms, and no one has seen London properly who has 
not watched the excited crowds at the Stock Exchange, 
threaded the labyrinth of the Bank, wondered at the 
intricate arrangements of the Post Office, attended a 
Charity Children's service at St. Paul's, beheld the Lord 
Mayor drive by in his coach; stood amid the wigged 
lawyers and whirling pigeons of the Guildhall; and 
struggled through Cheapside, Cornhill, and Great Tower 
Street with the full tide of a week-day. 

But no one can see the City properly who does not walk 
in it, and no one can walk in it comfortably except on a 
Sunday. On that day it is thoroughly enjoyable. The 
great chimneys have ceased smoking, the sky is blue, the 
trees look green, but that which is most remarkable is, the 
streets are empty. What becomes of all the people it is 
impossible to imagine; there are not only no carriages, 
there are scarcely any foot-passengers; one may saunter 
along the pavement with no chance of being jostled, and 
walk down the middle of the street without any fear of be- 
ing run over. Then alone can the external features of the 
City be studied, and there is a great charm in the oddity of 
having it all to one's self, as well as in the quietude. Then 
we see how, even in the district which was devastated by 
the Fire, several important fragments escaped, and how the 
portion which was unburnt is filled with precious memorials 
of an earlier time. Scarcely less interesting - also, and, 
though not always beautiful, of a character exceedingly un- 
usual in England, are the numerous buildings erected imme^ 


diately after the Fire in the reign of Charles II. The 
treasures which we have to look for are often veiy obscure 
-SL sculptured gateway, a panelled room, a storm-beaten 
tower, or an incised stone — and in themselves might 
SGU'cely be worth a tour of inspection ; but in a city where 
so many millions of inhabitants have lived and passed away, 
where so many great events of the world's history have 
occurred, there is scarcely one of these long-lived remnants 
which has not some strange story to tell in which it bears 
the character of the only existing witness. The surround- 
ings, too, are generally picturesque, and only those who 
study them and dwell upon them can realize the interest of 
the desolate tombs in the City churches, the loveliness of 
the plane^-trees in their fresh spring green rising amid the 
smoky houses in those breathing spaces left by the Fire in 
the old City churchyards where the churches were never 
rebuilt, or the soft effects of aerial perspective from the 
wharfs of the Thames or amid the many-masted shipping 
in the still reaches of " the Pool," where the great White 
Tower of the Conqueror still frowns at the beautiful church 
built in honour of a poor ferry-woman. 

One hundred and seven churches were destroyed in the 
Fire, and only twenty-two were preserved. Of these many 
have since been pulled down, and there are now only thir- 
teen churches in existence which date before the time of 
Giarles II. Those which were built immediately after the 
Fire, however, are scarcely less interesting, for though 
Wren had more work than he could possibly attend to 
properly, he never forgot that the greatest acquirement of 
architecture is the art of interesting^ and the inexhaustible 
power of his imagination displayed in his parish churches 
is not less astonishing than his genius evinced at St. Paul's. 
He built fifty-three churches in London, mostly classic } in 


one or two, as St. Mary Aldermaiy and St. Alban, Wood 
Street, he has attempted Gothic, and in these he has failed. 
Almost all the exteriors depend for ornament upon their 
towers, which are seldom well seen individually on account 
of their confined positions, but which are admirable in 
combination. The best is undoubtedly that of Bow 
Church ; then St. Magnus, St. Bride, St. Vedast, and St. 
Martin deserve attention. The saints to whom the old 
City churches are dedicated are generally the old English 
saints honoured before the Reformation, whose comparative 
popularity may be gathered from the number of buildings 
placed under the protection of each. Thus there were 
four churches dedicated to St. Botolph, four to St. Benet, 
three to St. Leonard, three to St. Dunstan, and two to St. 
Giles, while St. Ethelburga, St. Etheldreda, St. Alban, St. 
Vedast, St. Swithin, St. Edmund, and St. Bridget, had each 
their single church. Twelve of the City churches have 
been wantonly destroyed in our own time, and, though per- 
haps not beautiful in themselves, the thinning of the forest 
of towers and steeples, which was such a characteristic of 
ancient London, is greatly to be deplored. The interiors 
of the churches derive their chief interest from their monu- 
ments, but they are also often rich in Renaissance carvings 
and ironwork. They almost always have high pews, in 
which those who wish to attend to the service may share 
the feelings of the little girl who, when taken to church for 
the first time, complained that she had been shut up in a 
closet, and made to sit upon a shelf. 

Interesting specimens of domestic architecture before the 
Fire are to be found in the neighbourhood of Smithfield, in 
Aldersgate, Bishopsgate, and their surroundings. Crosby 
Hall and Sir Paul Pindar's House in the City ; the Water 
Gate of York House ; and Holland House in Kensington, 


are the most remarkable examples which come within the 
limits of our excursions. 

When the new London arose after the Fire, the persis- 
tence of the citizens who jealously clung to their old land- 
mzrkg caused the configuration of the former city to be 
observed, to the destruction of the grand designs of renova- 
tion proposed by Evelyn and Wren, but to the preservation 
of many old associations, and the rescuing of much historic 
interest from oblivion. The domestic buildings which were 
then erected are no less interesting than the churches, in- 
cluding as they do many of the noble old Halls of the City 
Companies, and private houses built by Wren. With the 
binding of William IIL the Dutch style of regular windows 
and flat-topped uniform brick fronts was introduced, which 
gradually deteriorated from the comfortable quaint houses 
of Anne's time with the carved wooden porches which may 
be seen in Queen Anne's Gate, to the hideous monotony 
of Wimpole Street and Baker Street. Under the brothers 
Adam and their followers there was a brief revival of good 
taste, and all their works are deserving of study — masterly 
alike in proportion and in delicacy of detail. In fact, 
though the buildings of the British Classical revival were 
often cold and formal, they were never bad. 

Some people maintain that Art is dead in England, others 
that it lives and grows daily. Certainly street architecture 
appeared to be in hopeless condition, featureless, colourless, 
almost formless, till a few years ago, but, since then, there 
has been an unexpected resurrection. Dorchester House is 
a noble example of the Florentine style, really grandiose 
and imposing, and the admirable work of Norman Shaw at 
Lowther Lodge seems to have given an impulse to brick 
and terra-cotta decoration, which has been capitally followed 
ont in several new houses in Cheapside, Oxford Street, 


Bond Street, and South Audley Street, and which is the be- 
ginning of a school of architecture for the reign of Victoria, 
as distinctive as that of Inigo Jones and Wren was for the 
time of the Stuarts. The more English architects study 
the brick cities of Northern Italy and learn that the best 
results are brought about by the simplest means, and that 
the greatest charm of a street is its irregularity, the more 
beautiful and picturesque will our London become. 

Besides the glorious collection in its National Gallery, 
London possesses many magnificent pictures in the great 
houses of its nobles, though few of these are shown to the 
public with the liberality displayed in continental cities. In 
the West End, however, people are more worth seeing than 
pictures, and foreigners and Americans will find endless 
sources of amusement in Rotten Row — in the Exhibitions 
— ^and in the levee at St. James's. 



WHEN I think over the past history of this 
enormous metropolis, I seem to be present at 
some grand drama, in which the actors are 
kings, queens, princes, nobles, prelates, wits, poets, phi- 
losophers, statesmen, soldiers ; the great and the little, the 
good and the wicked, the happy and the unfortunate, the 
wise and the foolish; men and women who have really 
lived and died, enjoyed and suffered, triumphed or fallen, in 
the very localities where I go about my daily work, or even 
in some of the actual buildings which I still behold. The 
early scenes of that drama are in fairy-land. I see fabulous 
Brutus and his Trojans landing in ancient Britain, conquer- 
ing giants, winning their way to the fair river which we 
now call Thames, and founding on its banks a city which, 
in its name and its traditions, should preserve the memory 
of vanished Troy. Then, entering the historic period, I 
find this London of ours a Roman city, stately with temples 
to all the gods and goddesses of heathendom — a city where 
the mailed legions of the Caesars paced sternly on the ram- 
parts, and held the native savages in awe within the walls, 
or drove them forth into the outer marshes. The scene 
shifting again, I behold the narrow streets of Saxon Lon- 
don with their relics of Roman splendour lurking among the 
rude timber houses of the Northmen. ' That, in its turn, 
gives place to the mediaeval town — a wild, beautiful dream 
of richly-carved and ornamented houses, looking out be- 


tween clustering trees; of pinnacled cathedrals and 
churches; of palaces and mansions; of streets crowded 
with grave merchants and gay prentices, and flashing with 
the brightly-coloured processions of chivalry. Passing on 
into later times, I find myself in the gallant ruffling London 
of Shakespeare's day, and of the age immediately succeed- 
ing, which I watch with my mind's eye until I see it darken 
under the gloom of Puritanism ; spring forth again into the 
glow and revelry of the Restoration ; become ghastly at the 
livid touch of the Plague ; sink, with a crash, and tumult, 
and toppling of ancient towers, into the red and roaring 
abyss of the Great Fire ; rise once more into power beneath 
the creative genius of Sir Christopher Wren; take its noble 
stand for Liberty in the days of 1688 ; sparkle in the witty 
levity of the reigns of Anne and the first two Georges ; 
and so pass through various moods into the metropolis of our 
own times. Such are the chief phases of our London drama 
— z drama extending over nearly two thousand years ; and 
what a wealth of life, action, and passion fill up the scenes I 
What tenderness of love, and rage of terror ; what beatings 
of hot blood, long stilled in death ; what plots and con- 
spiracies, hatched secretly, or suddenly exploding in wrath 
and flame ; what revolutions, making kings and unmaking 
them ; what crimes, private and public, leaving a stain of 
blood behind ; what wrestling of individual man with over- 
whelming circumstance; what summer blossoming of 
genius, often from roots of bitterness, and out of dusky 
places ; what roystering in taverns and dalliance in palaces ; 
what mysteries of death, and dim suggestions of the some- 
thing after death ; what joys, what agonies, what despair ! 
To the bookish man, this sombre, prosaic London is a 
territory of romance. For him, the treasured memories of 
the past remain forever. For him, the Arab maiden who 


married Thomas a Becket's father still walks through the 
alien streets, after her weary voyage from the Holy Land, 
ciying ^^ Gilbert, Gilbert ! " Jane Shore does penance in 
the public ways, and Charles the Second talks with Nelly 
in the Mall. Raleigh sits in the tower a prisoner, writing 
his History of the World. The fires are alight in Smith- 
field, and Charles the First steps out of that fatal window 
at Whitehall upon the scaiFold which his own obstinate and 
untruthful nature had prepared for him. Shakespeare acts 
again at the Bankside, and the nine-and-twenty pilgrims set 
out from the Tabard on that April morning. Chaucer 
beats a friar in Fleet Street : occasion of said beating un- 
known, but doubtless impertinence on the part of the friar. 
The poets gather about the throne of Ben, at the Mermaid 
or the Devil. Rochester dispenses quack medicines as an 
Italian mountebank in Tower Street. The wits of the 
succeeding generation flutter in the coffee-houses. Lillie 
die perfumer sells the Tatler at that corner of Beaufort- 
buildings and the Strand where once more we find the sale 
of perfumes but no Tatler. Pope takes the water for 
Twickenham; Addison writes the forthcoming Spectator, 
with the help of a bottle of wine placed at each end of the 
long room at Holland House ; Steele jests, writes love-let- 
ters to his wife, and drinks, in defiance of the bailiffs ; the 
bucks and bloods and maccaronies sport their velvets and 
their lace, their flowing wigs and their gold-hiked swords, 
at Ranelagh and Vauxhall ; and Johnson — vast, burly and 
awful — dominates in Fleet Street, or, clinging to a post by 
Temple Bar, wakes the echoes of St. Clement Danes with 
sudden midnight laughter. 



IF Lancashire has many of the characteristics of an in- 
dependent nation, is there no other part of England 
which in recent times has developed characteristics 
of its own ? Yes, there is the great nation of London, 
more populous than Scotland, Holland, or Switzerland, and 
destined to surpass Belgium in population before the end of 
the century. In London the English character has cer- 
tainly undeigone a great and astonishing modification. 
London is geographically in England, but intellectually one 
can only say that it is in the world. A provincial coming 
to London has not quitted the island, yet otherwise he 
hardly knows where he is. At first he does not belong to 
the place at all; after some experience of it he finds out 
whether he belongs to London naturally or not, — that is to 
say, whether there is the degree of adaptability in him 
which may enable him to breathe the open intellectual at- 
mosphere of the place. Physically, London may be as big 
as Loch Lomond; socially and intellectually, it is larger 
than Russia, and may well form, not only a county by 
itself, but a state within the State. I have said that in 
London the English character has undeigone a modification. 
It has become more open, more tolerant, better able to un- 
derstand variety of opinion, and much more ready to ap- 
preciate talent and welcome thought of all kinds. The 
nation of London is eventually modem and democratic, not 
caring who your grandmother may have been if only you 

yourself are to its taste ; but at the same time it does not 



desire to be a coarse and uneducated democracy ; .it values 
culture and taste far too highly to sacrifice them to a low 
equality. In a word, London clings to. its own standard of 
civilization. If you come up to that standard, if you have 
refinement and just money enough for housekeeping of 
unpretending elegance, you may be an infidel and a radical, 
yet London will not disown you, London will not cast you 
out into the cold. 

Although London happens by chance to be situated on 
an island, it is not insular. The nation of London is of 
all nations the most cosmopolitan, the most alive to what is 
passing everywhere upon the earth. It seems there as if 
one were not livine so sanch the life of a nation as the 
world's life. You spc^k ojT. some outlandish place at a 
London dinner-table, and are never surprised if somebody 
present quietly gives a description of it from personal 
knowledge. There are more people in London who have 
travelled and are ready to start on travels than in any other 
place on the whole earth. It is there that all the ocean 
telegraphs converge and steamers are arriving daily from all 
parts of the world. Switzerland is London's playground, 
Cannes and Nice are its winter garden, and so comprehensive 
do our ideas become in London that these places seem actu- 
ally nearer to us there than they do in the heart of France. 

The railway system is having the effect of making all 
the English aristocracy Londoners. I am old enough to 
remember the time when there were still provincial people 
of rank in the north who spoke sound northern English, — 
not dialect, but English with vowels and consonants, in- 
cluding the letter r. Their successors talk the half-articu- 
late London language. ' It is said that some young High- 
land chieftains of the present day speak Southern English 
only too beautifully. 



THE appearance presented by the streets of London 
an hour before sun-rise, on a summer's morning, 
is most striking even to the few whose unfortu- 
nate pursuits of pleasure, or scarcely less unfortunate pur- 
suits of business, cause them to be well acquainted with 
the scene. There is an air of cold, solitary desolation 
about the noiseless streets which'we are accustomed to see 
thronged at other times by a busy, eager crowd, and over 
the quiet, closely-shut buildings, which throughout the day 
are swarming with life and bustle, that is very impressive. 

The last drunken man, who shall find his way home 
before sun-light, has just staggered heavily along, roaring 
out the burden of the drinking song of the previous night : 
the last houseless vagrant whom penury and police have 
left in the streets, has coiled up his chilly limbs in some 
paved corner, to dream of food and warmth. The drunken, 
the dissipated, and the wretched have disappeared ; the more 
sober and orderly part of the population have not yet awa- 
kened to the labours of the day, and the stillness of death is 
over the streets \ its very hue seems to be imparted to them, 
cold and lifeless as they look in the grey, sombre light of 
daybreak. The coach-stands in the larger thoroughfares 
are deserted : the night-houses are closed ; and the chosen 
promenades of profligate misery are empty. 

An occasional policeman may alone be seen at the street- 
corners, listlessly gazing on the deserted prospect before 



him i and now and then a rakish-looking cat runs stealthily 
across the road and descends his own area with as much 
caution and slyness — bounding first on the water-butt, then 
on the dust-hole, and then alighting on the flag-stones — ^as 
if he were conscious that his character depended on his 
gallantry of the preceding night escaping public observa- 
tion. A partially opened bedroom-window here and there, 
bespeaks the heat of the weather, and the uneasy slumbers 
of its occupant ; and the dim scanty flicker of the rush- 
light, through the window-blind, denotes the chamber of 
watching or sickness. With these few exceptions, the 
streets present no signs of life, nor the houses of habitation. 

An hour wears away ; the spires of the churches and 
rooft of the principal buildings are faintly tinged with the 
l^ht of the rising sun ; and the streets, by almost imper- 
ceptible degrees, begin to resume their bustle and anima- 
tion. Market-carts roll slowly along : the sleepy waggoner 
impatiently urging on his tired horses, or vainly endeavour- 
ing to awaken the boy, who, luxuriously stretched on the 
top of the fruit-baskets, forgets in happy oblivion, his 
long-cherished curiosity to behold the wonders of London. 

Rough, sleepy-looking animals of strange appearance, 
something between ostlers and hackney-coachmen, begin 
to take down the shutters of the early public-houses ; and 
little deal tables, with the ordinary preparations for a street 
breakfast, make their appearance at the customary stations. 
Numbers of men and women (principally the latter), carry- 
ing upon their heads heavy baskets of fruit, toil down the 
park side of Piccadilly, on their way to Covent Garden, 
and, following each other in rapid succession, form a long 
straggling line from thence to the turn of the road at 

Here and there, a bricklayer's labourer, with the day's 


dinner tied up in a handkerchief, walks briskly to his 
work, and occasionally a little knot of three or four school- 
boys on a stolen bathing expedition rattle merrily over the 
pavement, their boisterous mirth contrasting forcibly with 
the demeanour of the little sweep, who, having knocked 
and rung till his arm aches, and being interdicted by a 
merciful legislature from endangering his lungs by calling 
out, sits patiently down on the door-step until the house- 
maid may happen to awake. 

Covent Garden market, and the avenues leading to it 
are thronged with carts of all sorts, sizes, and descriptions, 
from the heavy lumbering waggon, with its four stout 
horses, to the jingling cost'ermonger's cart with its con- 
sumptive donkey. The pavement is already strewed with 
decayed cabbage-leaves, broken hay-bands, and all the inde- 
scribable litter of a vegetable market; men are shouting, 
carts backing, horses neighing, boys fighting, basket-women 
talking, piemen expatiating on the excellence of their pastry, 
and donkeys braying. These and a hundred other sounds 
form a compound discordant enough to a Londoner's ears, 
and remarkably disagreeable to those of country gentlemen 
who are sleeping at the Hummums for the first time. 

Another hour passes away, and the day begins in good 
earnest. The servant of all work, who, under the plea of 
sleeping very soundly, has utterly disregarded ^ Missis's " 
ringing for half an hour previously, is warned by Master 
(whom Missis has sent up in his drapery to the landing- 
place for that purpose) that it's half-past six, whereupon 
she awakes all of a sudden, with well-feigned astonishment, 
and goes down-stairs very sulkily, wishing, while she strikes 
a light, that the principle of spontaneous combustion would 
extend itself to coals and kitchen range. When the fii^ 
is lighted, she opens the street-door to take in the milk^ 


when, by the most singular comcidcnce in the world, she 
discovers that the servant next door has just taken in her 
milk, too, and that Mr. Todd's young man over the way 
is, by an equally extraordinary chance, taking down his 
master's shutters. The inevitable consequence is, that she 
just steps, milk-jug in hand, as far as the next door, just to 
say ^ good morning," to Betsy Clark, and that Mr. Todd's 
young man just steps over the way to say ^^ good morning " 
to both of 'em ; and as the aforesaid Mr. Todd's young 
man is almost as good-looking and fascinating as the baker 
himself, the conversation quickly becomes very interesting, 
and probably would become more so, if Betsy Clark's 
Missis, who always will be a followin' her about, didn't 
give an angry tap at her bedroom window, on which Mr. 
Todd's young man tries to whistle coolly, as he goes back 
to his shop much faster than he came from it ; and the two 
girls run back to their respective places, and shut their 
street-doors with surprising softness, each of them poking 
their heads out of the front parlour-window, a minute 
afterwards, however, ostensibly with the view of looking at 
the mail which just then passes by, but really for the pur- 
pose of catching another glimpse of Mr. Todd's young 
man, who being fond of mails, but more of females, takes 
a short look at the mails, and a long look at the girls, much 
to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. 

The mail itself goes on to the coach-office in due course, 
and the passengers who are going out by the early coach, 
stare with astonishment at the passengers who are coming 
in by the early coach, who look blue and dismal, and are 
evidently under the influence of that odd feeling produced 
by travelling, which makes the events of yesterday morning 
seem as if they had happened at least six months s^o, and 
people to wonder with considerable gravity whether 


the friends and relations they took leave of a fortnight 
before, have altered much since they left them. The 
poach-office is all alive, and the coaches which are just 
going out are surrounded by the usual crowd of Jews and 
nondescripts, who seem to consider, Heaven knows why, 
that it is quite impossible any man can mount a coach 
without requiring at least six-penny-worth of oranges, a 
penknife, a pocket-book, a last-year's annual, a pencil-case, 
a piece of sponge, and a small series of caricatures. 

Half an hour more, and the sun darts his bright rays 
cheerfuUy down the still half-empty streets, and shines with 
sufficient force to rouse the dismal laziness of the appren- 
tice, who pauses every other minute from his task of sweep- 
ing out the shop and watering the pavement in front of it, 
to tell another apprentice similarly employed, how hot it 
will be to-day, or to stand with his right hand shading his 
eyes, and his left resting on the broom, gazing at the 
" Wonder," or the " Tally-ho," or the " Nimrod," or some 
other fast coach, till it is out of sight, when he re-enters 
the shop, envying the passengers on the outside of the fast 
coach, and thinking of the old red brick house ^^ down in the 
country," where he went to school : the miseries of the 
milk and water, and thick bread and scrapings, fading into 
nothing before the pleasant recollection of the green field 
the boys used to play in, and the green pond he was caned 
for presuming to fall into, and other schoolboy associations. 

Cabs, with trunks and band-boxes between the drivers' 
legs and outside the apron, rattle briskly up and down the 
streets on their way to the coach-offices or steam-packet 
wharfs; and the cab-drivers and hackney coachmen who 
are on the stand polish up the ornamental part of their 
dingy vehicles — ^the former wondering how people can 
prefer ^^them wild beast cariwans of homnibuses, to a 


riglar cab with a fast trotter," and the latter admiring how 
people can trust their necks into one of ^^ them crazy cabs, 
when they can have a 'spectable 'ackney cotche with a pair 
of 'orses as von't run away with no vun ; " a consolation 
unquestionably founded on fact, seeing that a hackney 
coach-horse never was known to run at all, ^^ except," as 
the smart cabman in front of the rank observes, ^^ except 
one, and be runs back'ards." 

The shops are now completely opened, and apprentices 
and shopmen are busily engaged in cleaning and decking 
the windows for the day. The bakers' shops in town are 
filled with servants and children waiting for the drawing 
of the first batch of rolls — an operation which was per- 
formed a full hour ago in the suburbs ; for the early clerk 
population of Somers and Camden towns, Islington, and 
Pentonville, are fast pouring into the city, or directing 
their steps towards Chancery-lane and the Inns of Court. 
Middle-s^ed men, whose salaries have by no means in- 
creased in the same proportion as their families, plod 
steadily along, apparently with no object in view but the 
counting-house ; knowing by sight almost everybody they 
meet or overtake, for they have seen them every morning 
(Sundays excepted) during the last twenty years, but speak- 
ing to no one. If they do happen to overtake a personal 
acquaintance, they just exchange a hurried salutation, and 
keep walking on either by his side, or in front of him, as 
his rate of walking may chance to be. As to stopping to 
shake hands, or to take the friend's arm, they seem to 
think that as it is not included in their salary, they have no 
right to do it. Small ofEce lads in laige hats, who are 
made men before they are boys, hurry along in pairs, with 
their first coat carefully brushed, and the white trousers of 
last Sunday plentifully besmeared with dust and ink. It 


evidently requires a considerable mental struggle to avoid 
investing part of the day's dinner-money in the purchase of 
the stale tarts so temptingly exposed in dusty tins at the 
pastry-cook's doors j but a consciousness of their own im- 
portance and the receipt of seven shillings a-week, with the 
prospect of an early rise to eight, comes to their aid, and 
they accordingly put their hats a little more on one side, 
and look under «die bonnets of all the milliners' and stay- 
makers' apprentices they meet — poor girls! — ^the hardest 
worked, the worst paid, and too often, the worst used class 
of the community. 

Eleven o'clock, and a new set of people fill the streets. 
The goods in the shop-windows are invitingly arranged; 
the shopmen in their white neckerchiefs and spruce coats, 
look as if they couldn't clean a window if their lives 
depended on it; the carts have disappeared from Covent' 
Garden; the waggoners have returned, and the coster- 
mongers repaired to their ordinary ^^ beats " in the suburbs ; 
clerks are at their offices, and gigs, cabs, onmibuses, and 
saddle-horses, are conveying their masters to the same 
destination* The streets are thronged with a vast con- 
course of people, gay and shabby, rich and poor, idle and 
industrious ; and ,we come to the heat, bustle, and activity 
of Noon. 

The Streets — Night. 

But the streets of London, to be beheld in the very 
height of their glory, should be seen on a dark, dull, murky 
winter's night, when there is just enough damp gently 
stealing down to make the pavement greasy, without 
cleansing it of any of its impurities ; and when the heavy 
lazy mist, which hangs over every object, makes the gas- 
lamps look brighter, and the brilliantly lighted shops more 


splendid, from the contrast they present to the darkness 
around. All the people who are at home on such a night 
as this, seem disposed to make themselves as snug and 
comfortable as possible ; and the passengers in the streets 
have excellent reason to envy the fortunate individuals who 
are seated by their own firesides. 

In the Izrger and better kind of streets, dining-parlour 
curtains are closely drawn, kitchen fires blaze brightly up, 
and savoury steams of hot dinners salute the nostrils of the 
hungry wayfarer, as he plods wearily by the area railings. 
In the suburbs, the muffin-boy rings his way down the 
little street, much more slowly than he is wont to do ; for 
Mrs. Macklin, of No. 4, has no sooner opened her little 
street-door, and screamed out ^^ Muffins ! ** with all her 
might, than Mrs. Walker, at No. 5, puts her head out of 
the parlour-window, and screams ^^ Muffins ! " too ; and 
Mrs. Walker has scarcely got the words out of her lips, 
than Mrs. Peplow, over the way, lets loose Master Pep- 
low, who darts down the street, with a velocity which 
nothing but buttered muffins in perspective could possibly 
inspire, and drags the boy back by main force, whereupon 
Mrs. Macklin and Mrs. Walker, just to save the boy 
trouble, and to say a few neighbourly words to Mrs. Peplow 
at the same time, run over the way and buy their muffins 
at Mrs. Peplow's door, when it appears from the voluntary 
statement of Mrs. Walker, that her ^^ kittle*s just a biling, 
and the cups and sarsers ready laid," and that, as it was 
such a wretched night out o' doors, she'd made up her mind 
to have a nice hot comfortable cup o' tea — a determination 
at which, by the most singular coincidence, the other two 
ladies had simultaneously arrived. 

After a little conversation about the wretchedness of the 
weather and the merits of tea, with a digression relative to 


the viciousness of boys as a rule, and the amiability of 
Master Peplow as an exception, Mrs. Walker sees her 
husband coming down the street ; and as he must want his 
tea, poor man, after his dirty walk from the Docks, she 
instantly runs across, muffins in hand, and Mrs. Macklin 
does the same, and after a few words to Mrs. Walker, they 
all pop into their little houses, and slam their little street- 
doors, which are not opened again for the remainder of the 
evening, except to the nine o'clock ^^beer,'' who comet 
round with a lantern in front of his tray, and says, as he 
lends Mrs. Walker ** Yesterday's *Tiser," that he's blessed 
if he can hardly hold the pot, much less feel the paper, for 
it's one of the bitterest nights he ever felt, 'cept the night 
when the man was frozen to death in the Brick-field. 

After a little prophetic conversation with the policeman 
at the street-corner, touching a probable change in the 
weather, and the setting in of a hard frost, the nine o'clock 
beer returns to his master's house, and employs himself for 
the remainder of the evening in assiduously stirring the 
tap-room fire, and deferentially taking part in the conversa- 
tion of the worthies assembled round it. 

The streets in the vicinity of the Marsh-gate and Vic- 
toria Theatre present an appearance of dirt and discomfort 
on such a night, which the groups who lounge about them 
in no degree tend to diminish. Even the little block-tin 
temple sacred to baked potatoes, surmounted by a splendid 
design in variegated lamps, looks less gay than usual ; and 
as to the kidney-pie stand, its glory has quite departed. 
The candle in the transparent lamp, manufactured of oil- 
paper, embellished with ^' characters," has been blown out 
fifty times, so the kidney-pie merchant, tired with running 
backwards and forwards to the next wine vaults, to get a 
light, has given up the idea of illumination in despair, and 


the only signs of his '^ whereabout," are the bright sparks, 
of which a long irregular train is whirled down the street 
every time he opens his portable oven to hand a hot kidney- 
pie to a customer. 

Flat iish, oyster, and fruit venders linger hopelessly in the 
kennel, in vain endeavouring to attract customers ; and the 
ragged boys who usually disport themselves about the streets 
stand crouched in little knots in some projecting doorway, 
or under the canvas blind of the cheesemonger's, where 
great flaring gaslights, unshaded by any glass, display huge 
piles of bright red, and pale yellow cheeses, mingled with 
little five-penny dabs of dingy bacon, various tubs of weekly 
Dorset, and cloudy rolls of ^^ best fresh." 

Here they amuse themselves with theatrical converse, 
arising out of their last half-price visit to the Victoria gal- 
lery, admire the terrific combat, which is nightly encored, 
and expatiate on the inimitable manner in which Bill 
Thompson can ^^ come the double monkey," or go through 
the mysterious involutions of a sailor's hornpipe. 

It is nearly eleven o'clock, and the cold thin rain which 
has been drizzling so long, is beginning to pour down in 
good earnest; the baked-potato man has departed — the 
kidney-pie man has just walked away with his warehouse 
on his arm — the cheesemonger has drawn in his blind, and 
the boys have dispersed. The constant clicking of pattens 
on the slippy and uneven pavement, and the rustling of 
umbrellas, as the wind blows against the shop-windows, 
bear testimony to the inclemency of the night; and the 
policeman, with his oil-skin cape buttoned closely round 
him, seems as he holds his hat on his head, and turns round 
to avoid the gust of wind and rain which drives against him 
at the street-corner, to be very far from congratulating him- 
self on the prospect before him. 


The little chandler's shop with the cracked bell behind 
the door, whose melancholy tinkling has been regulated by 
the demand for quarterns of sugar and half-ounces of coffee, 
is shutting up. The crowds which have been passing to 
and fro during the whole day, are rapidly dwindling away ; 
and the noise of shouting and quarrelling which issues from 
the public-houses, is almost the only sound that breaks the 
melancholy stillness of the night. 

There was another, but it has ceased. That wretched 
woman with the infant in her arms, round whose meagre 
form the remnant of her own scanty shawl is carefully 
wrapped, has been attempting to sing some popular ballad^ 
in the hope of wringing a few pence from the compassion- 
ate passer-by. A brutal laugh at her weak voice is all she 
has gained. The tears fall thick and fast down her own 
pale face ; the child is cold and hungry, and its low half- 
stifled wailing adds to the misery of its wretched mother, 
as she moans aloud, and sinks despairingly down, on a cold 
damp door-step. 

Singing ! How few of those who pass such a miserable 
creature as this, think of the anguish of heart, the sinking 
of soul and spirit, which the very effort of singing produces. 
Bitter mockery ! Disease, neglect, and starvation, faintly 
articulating the words of the joyous ditty, that has enli- 
vened your hours of feasting and merriment. God knows 
how often ! It is no subject of jeering. The weak trem- 
ulous voice tells a fearful tale of want and famishing ; and 
the feeble singer of this roaring song may turn away, only 
to die of cold and hunger. 

One o'clock! Parties returning from the different 
theatres foot it through the muddy streets ; cabs, hackney- 
coaches, carriages, and theatre omnibuses, roll swiftly by ; 
watermen with dim dirty lanterns in their hands, and large 


brass plates upon their breasts, who have been shouting and 
rushing about for the last two hours, retire to their water- 
ing-houses, to solace themselves with the creature comforts 
of pipes and purl; the half-price pit and box frequenters of 
the theatres throng to the different houses of refreshment ; 
and chops, kidneys, rabbits, oysters, stout, cigars, and 
^goes" innumerable, are served up amidst a noise and con- 
fusion of smoking, running, knife-clattering, and waiter- 
chattering, perfectly indescribable. 

The more musical portion of the play-going community, 
betake themselves to some harmonic meeting. As a matter 
of curiosity let us follow them thither for a few moments. 

In a lofty room of spacious dimensions, are seated some 
eighty or a hundred guests knocking little pewter measures 
on the tables, and hammering away with the handles of 
their knives, as if they were so many trunk-makers. They 
are applauding a glee, which has just been executed by the 
three ^^ professional gentlemen '* at the top of the centre- 
table, one of whom is in the chair — ^the little pompous man 
with the bald head just emeiging from the collar of his 
green coat. The others are seated on either side of him — 
the stout man with the small voice, and the thin-faced dark 
man in black. The little man in the chair is a most amu- 
sing per8onage,*-jtffifr condescending grandeur, and such a 

^^ Bass ! " as the young gentleman near us with the blue 
stock forcibly remarks to his companion, ^^ bass ! I b'lieve 
you ; he can go down lower than any man ; so low some- 
times that you can't hear him.'' And so he does. To 
hear him growling away, gradually lower and lower down, 
'til he can't get iMick again, is the most delightful thing in 
the world, and it is quite impossible to witness unmoved 
the impressive solemnity with which he pours forth his soul 


in " My 'art's in the 'ighlands," or " The brave old Hoak." 
The stout man is also addicted to sentimentality, and 
warbles " Fly, fly from the world, my Bessy, with me," or 
some such song, with lady-like sweetness, and in the most 
seductive tones imaginable. 

"Pray give your orders, gen'lmen — pray give your 
orders," — says the pale-faced man with the red head ; and 
demands for " goes " of gin and " goes " of brandy, and 
pints of stout, and cigars of peculiar mildness, are vocifer- 
ously made from all parts of the room. The ^^ professional 
gentlemen " are in the very height of their glory, and 
bestow condescending nods, or even a word or two of 
recognition on the better known frequenters of the room, 
in the most bland and patronizing manner possible. 

That little round-faced man, with the small brown 
surtout, white stockings . and shoes, is in the comic line ; 
the mixed air of self-denial, and mental consciousness of 
his own powers, with which he acknowledges the call of 
the chair, is particularly gratifying. ^^ Gen'lmen," says the 
little pompous man, accompanying the word with a knock 
of the president's hammer on the table — ^^ Gen'lmen, allow 
me to claim your attention^-our friend, Mr. Smuggins will 
oblige." — ^^ Bravo ! " shout the company ; and Smuggins, 
after a considerable quantity of coughing by way of sym- 
phony, and a most facetious snifF or two, which afford 
general delight, sings a comic song, with a fal-de-ral — ^tol- 
de-rol chorus at the end of every verse, much longer than 
the verse itself. It is received with unbounded applause, 
and after some aspiring genius has volunteered a recitation, 
and failed dismally therein, the little pompous man gives 
another knock, and says, ^^ Gen'lmen, we will attempt a 
glee, if you please." This announcement calls forth 
tumultuous applause, and the more energetic spirits express 


the unqualified approbation it affords them, by knocking 
one or two. stout glasses off their legs — a humorous device; 
but one which frequently occasions some slight altercation 
when the form of paying the damage is proposed to be gone 
through by the waiter. 

Scenes like these are continued until three or four o'clock 
in the morning ; and even when they close, fresh ones open 
to the inquisitive novice. But as a description of all of 
them, however slight, would require a volume, the contents 
of which, however instructive, would be by no means 
pleasing, we make our bow, and drop the curtain. 



AFTER leaving Gravesend, — the lower boundary 
of the Port of London — stores, warehouses and 
yards crowd together and mass with quite a 
picturesque irregularity. To the left rise the two cupolas 
of the Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich, through the 
open colonnade of which we catch a glimpse of park depths 
with great trees, producing a charming effect. Seated on 
the steps of the peristyle, the invalids watch the departure 
and arrival of the ships that form the subject of their souvenirs 
and conversations, and the sharp scent of the sea again de- 
lights their nostrils. Sir Christopher Wren was the archi- 
tect of this fine building. 

Greenwich faces the Isle of Dogs, which however is 
not completely an island, but lies in a loop of the Thames 
of which skilful use has been made. It is here that the 
West India Company has excavated its docks. The East 
India Docks, much smaller and less frequented, are to the 
right a little higher up and at the extremity of the curve 
made by the river. 

The West India Docks are something enormous, gi> 

gantic, fabulous and almost beyond human proportions. 

They are the work of Cyclopes and Titans. Above the 

tops of the houses, shops, embankments, flights of steps 

and all the hybrid constructions that line the banks of the 

river, you see a prodigious forest of ships' masts extending 

to infinity : an inextricable mass of rigging, spars and 




cordage that by the density of their lacing would shame 
the most fibrous bind-weeds of an American virgin forest. 
Here it is that are built, refitted and repaired that innumer- 
able army of vessels that go out in search of the riches of 
the world in order afterwards to pour them into that bot- 
tomless gulf of misery and luxury called London. The 
West India Docks can hold three hundred vessels. A 
canal, dug parallel with the docks, cutting through the Isle 
of Dogs and called the City Canal, shortens the distance it 
would take to double the point by three or four miles. 

The Commercial Docks, on the opposite bank, the 
London Docks, and the St. Katharine Docks just below 

the Tower are no lcs3 wonderful. In the Commercial 

• ■'''. _ 111' 

Docks are the biggest cellars iii the world : the wines of 
Spain and Portugal are stored there. Besides these, there 
are private docks and basins. Each instant, amid a group 
of houses, you see a ship take up position. The yards put 
out the eyes of the windows, the spars penetrate into the 
rooms, and the cut-waters seem to be making breaches in 
the doors of the shops, like ancient battering-rams. The 
houses and ships live in the most touching and cordial inti- 
macy : at high-tide the yards become basins and receive 
ships. Flights of steps, slips constructed of stone, granite 
and brick, mount and descend from the river to the houses. 
London has her arms plunged into her river up to the 
elbows : a regular quay would obstruct the familiarity be- 
tween the river and the city. This is a gain in picturesque- 
ness, for nothing is more horrible than those eternal straight 
lines prolonged in spite of everything, with which modem 
civilization is so stupidly infatuated. 

England is only a dock-yard : London is only a port. 
The sea is the natural fatherland of the English ; they take 
such delight in it that many of their great lords spend their 


lives in making the most dangerous voyages in little vessels 
equipped and managed by themselves. The yacht-club has 
no other aim than to encourage and favour this taste. The 
land is so unpleasing to them that they have a hospital 
stationed in the middle of the Thames in a great hulk 
which serves the sailors who are ill in the Port of London. 

The fronts of all these houses are turned towards the 
river, for the Thames is London's great highway, the 
artery from which the veins branch to carry life and circu- 
lation into the body of the city. Therefore what a riot of 
inscriptions and signs ! Letters of all colours and sizes 
cover the edifices from top to bottom : the characters often 
reach the height of one story. The houses, thus streaked, 
placarded, and variegated with lettering, when seen from 
the middle of the Thames, present the most outlandish ap- 

I was not a little surprised to see the Tower intact. It 
has lost nothing of its ancient physiognomy ; it is stiU there 
with its high walls, its sinister altitude and its low arch 
(the Traitor's Gate) under which a black boat, more sin- 
ister than Charon's bark, brought criminals in and came to 
carry the condemned away to death. The Tower is not, 
as its name would seem to indicate, a donjon or solitary 
belfry ; it is a regular bastille, a cluster of towers connected 
by walls, a fortress surrounded by moats supplied by the 
Thames, with cannons and drawbridges ; a fortress of the 
Middle Ages, at least as serious as our Vincennes, contain- 
ing a chapel, a treasury, an arsenal and a thousand other 

We were approaching the end of our voyage : a few 
more turns of the wheel and the steamboat touched the 
Custom House quay, where the passengers' trunks would 
not be examined till the morrow, for in London Sunday is 


observed as scrupulously as the Sabbath by the Jews in 

I shall never forget the magnificent spectacle presented 
to my eyes : the big arches of London Bridge reached 
across the river with their five great limbs and stood out 
sombrely against a background of setting sun. The disc, 
fiery like a shield reddened in a furnace, was sinking ex- 
actly behind the central arch which traced a black segment 
of incomparable boldness and vigour above the orb. 

A long trail of fire scintillated and trembled upon the 
rippling waves ; violet smoke and mist bathed space as far 
as Southwark Bridge, the vaguely sketched arches of which 
were scarcely perceptible. To the right, a little in the 
background, flamed the gilded bronze of the summit of the 
tall column erected to commemorate the Fire of 1666. 
To the left, the belfry of St. Clave projected above the 
roofs; monumental chimney-stacks, that might be taken 
for votive columns of Ionic or Doric capitals, were they not 
in the habit of vomiting smoke, in a most happy manner 
broke the horizon lines, and accentuated the orange and 
pale lemon tints of the sky with their strong tones. 

On turning round, behind you is a red naval city, with 
quarters and streets of vessels, for it is at this, the first of 
the London bridges, that ships stop. 

We disembarked. While the cab was rapidly rolling 
through the streets between the Custom House and High 
Holbom, I looked out of the window and was greatly as- 
tonished at the solitude and profound silence that reigned. 
You might have called it a dead town, — one of those cities 
inhabited by people turned to stone that Oriental stories 
tell of. All the shops were shut and no human face ap- 
peared at the windows. Occasionally a rare figure passed 
along the walls like a shadow. This doleful and deserted 



aspect so strongly contrasted with the idea of noise and 
animation that I had formed of London that I could not 
get over my surprise, till at length I remembered that it was 
Sunday, — ^and the London Sunday had been held up to me 
as the ideal of weariness. On that day, which with us, at 
least for the common people, is a day of joy, promenade, 
dress, feastirig and dancing, on the other side of the 
Channel is spent in inconceivable sadness. The taverns 
close at midnight on Saturday, the theatres do not open, the 
shops are hermetically shut up and it would be very diffi- 
cult for a man to get anything to eat unless he has made 
provision beforehand : life seems to be suspended. The 
machinery of London ceases to work, like the wheels of 
a clock when you put your finger on the pendulum. For 
fear of profaning dominical solemnity, London does not 
dare to move, it will scarcely allow itself even to breathe. 
On that day, after having listened to the pastor of the sect 
to which he belongs, every good Englishman shuts himself 
up within the walls of his house to meditate on the Bible, 
to oiFer his weariness to God and to enjoy in front of a big 
coal iire the happiness of being at home, and of being 
neither a Frenchman nor a Papist, — a source of inexhausti- 
ble bliss. At midnight, the charm is broken : circulation, 
that had stopped for a moment, starts again, the houses ie« 
open, life returns to this great body that had fallen into 
lethargy, the dominical Lazarus is resuscitated at the brazen 
voice of Monday and resumes its march. 

The shops are slow to open. Paris gets up earlier than 
London, — it is not till about lo a. m. that London begins 
to awake, — ^it is true that it goes to bed much later. 

Since the occupants are not yet up, let us take note of 
the dwellings : let us describe the nest before the bird. 

The English houses have no portes cochins and scarcely 


any have a courtyard : an area with railings separates them 
from the path. In this basement, the kitchen offices are 
placed. Coal, bread, meat brought on a kind of hollowed 
plank, and all provisions go in that way without causing 
the master any inconvenience. The stables are generally 
in separate buildings, sometimes at some distance. Brick 
is the ordinary basis of construction. English bricks are 
usually yellow ochre in hue, which in my opinion cannot 
compare with the red and warm tones of our own. Houses 
built of bricks of this colour have a sickly and unwhole- 
some appearance that is disagreeable to the eye. There are 
larely more than three stories, and these have only two or 
three windows each, for generally a house is occupied by 
only one family. A flight of white stone steps, thrown 
like a drawbridge over the moat leading to the kitchen 
offices, connects the house with the street, and the door 
painted like oak, is often adorned with a brass plate on 
which are written the name and quality of the owner : — 
such are the characteristic features of the real English 

What gives quite an individual aspect to London, in ad- 
dition to the width of its streets and the lowness of its 
houses, is the uniformly black hue that covers everything. 
Nothing is sadder or more lugubrious, for this black 
possesses nothing of the browned and strong tints that 
Time gives to old buildings in more southern climes : it is 
an imperceptible and subtle grime that clings to everything, 
penetrates everywhere, and from which nothing can protect 
itself. You would say that all the monuments were 
powdered with blacklead. The immense quantity of coal 
consumed in London in warming houses and in furnaces is 
one of the chief causes of this general mourning of the 
edifices, the most ancient of which have literally the ap- 



pearance of having been painted with blacking. This 
effect is particularly noticeable in the statues. Newgate 
prison, with, its bossages and worm-eaten stones, the old 
church of St. Saviour, and some Gothic chapels, the names 
of which I forget, seem to have been built of black granite 
rather than to have been darkened by the years. This 
prevailing hue would suffice to explain the traditional spleen 
of the English. 

The dome of St. Paul's, a heavy counterfeit of St. 
Peter's, Rome, an edifice of the family of the Pantheon 
and the Escurial, with its humped cupola and two square 
belfries, cruelly suffers from the influence of the London 
atmosphere. Notwithstanding the efforts to keep it white, 
it is always black, at least on one side : it is vain to coat it 
with paint, the imperceptible carbon in solution in the fog 
works quicker than the painter's brush. St. Paul's is an 
additional example to prove that the cupola is a form that 
belongs to the East and that the skies of the North require 
to be cut by the needles and sharp angles of Gothic 

The London sky, even when it is unclouded, is of a 
milky blue in which grey predominates. The azure is 
sensibly paler than that of the sky of France : there, 
the evenings and mornings are always bathed in mists and 
drowned in vapours. London steams in the sun like a 
sweating horse, or a boiling caldron ; and this produces in 
open spaces those admirable effects of light so well rendered 
by the English water-colourists and engravers. In the 
finest weather, it is difficult clearly to see South wark 
Bridge from London Bridge, which, however, ace not far 
apart. This mist, that overspreads all, softens all harsh 
angles, veils the poverty of construction, enlarges the per-, 
spective and gives mystery and vagueness to the most 


aggressive objects. By its means, a factory chimney easily 
becomes an obelisk, a shop of mean architecture assumes 
the air of a Babylonian terrace, and a pitiful row of columns 
changes into a Palmyrene portico. The symmetrical 
aridity of Civilization and the vulgarity of the forms she 
makes use of are softened or disappear entirely, thanks to 
this beneficent veil. 

The streets were becoming animated; labourers, with 
white aprons tied at the waist, were on their way to work ; 
butcher-boys were carrying meat in their wooden troughs ; 
carriages were passing with the rapidity of lightning; 
omnibuses, brilliant with colour and varnish, bedizened 
with gold letters announcing their destinations, followed 
one another with scarcely an interval, with passengers out- 
side and conductors standing on a ledge beside the door. 
These onmibuses travel very fast, for London is so vast, 
so enormous a city that there the need of rapidity makes 
itself felt more keenly than in Paris. This activity of loco- 
motion is in strange contrast with the impassive air, and 
the phlegmatic and cold physiognomy, to say nothing more, 
of- all these imperturbable passengers. The English move 
quickly like the dead in the ballad and you cannot read 
any desire of arriving in their eyes. They run and they 
do not seem to be in a hurry; they always go straight 
ahead like a cannon-ball, do not turn round when jostled 
and do not beg pardon when they jostle anyone else. 
Even the women walk with a quick step that would do 
honour to grenadiers marching to the assault, — with that 
geometrical and manly gait by which an Englishwoman is 
recognized on the Continent, and which excites the 
laughter of the Parisian chit. The children, even, make 
haste on their way to school. 

The Thames is to London what the boulevard is to 


Paris,— -the principal line of circulation. Only, on the 
Thames, the omnibuses are replaced by little steam-boats. 
Nothing is more delightful than these little voyages that 
cause to defile past you, like a moving panorama, the pic- 
turesque banks of the river. You thus pass all the bridges 
of London. You can admire the three iron arches of 
Southwark Bridge, so bold in strut, so wide in extent ; the 
Ionic columns that give such an elegant appearance to 
Blackfriars Bridge ; and the Doric pillars of such robust 
and solid shape of Waterloo Bridge, — surely the finest in 
the world. On leaving Waterloo Bridge, through the 
arches of Blackfriars Bridge you see the gigantic silhouette 
of St. Paul's rising above an ocean of roofs, among the 
spires and belfries of St. Mary le Bone, St. Benet and St. 
Matthew, with a portion of a quay thronged with boats, 
barks and storehouses. From Westminster Bridge, you 
discover the ancient abbey of that name lifting into the 
haze its two lofty square towers that rec^all the towers of 
Notre Dame in Paris, and that have a sharp turret at each 
angle; and the three strange open-work belfries of St. 
John the Evangelist, without counting the saw-teeth formed 
by the spires of distant chapels, the factory chimneys and 
the house-roofs. Vauxhall Bridge worthily ends the 

Forgive me if I am always talking of the Thames, but 
its ceaselessly moving panorama is something so novel and 
so impressive, that it is hard to get away from it. A forest 
of three-masters in the heart of a capital is the finest 
spectacle that human industry can present to the view. 

Starting from Waterloo Bridge we will reach the Strand 
by Wellington Street and walk along it. From the pretty 
little church of St. Mary, so singularly situated in the 
middle of the street, the Strand, which is quite wide, is 

n ^ 

.->' I 

'41 . 

'. r 


decked on both sides by sumptuous and splendid shops, 
which, though not possessing, perhaps, the coquettish ele- 
gance of those of Paris, yet have an air of wealth and lux- 
urious abundance. Here we find displayed stocks of prints 
in which we can admire the masterpieces of the English 
graver, so supple, so soft, so suggestive of colour, and un- 
happily employed upon the worst designs in the world. 

Regent Street, — which has arcades, like the Rue de 
Rivoli, — Piccadilly, Pall Mall, Hay market, the Italian 
Opera — ^which may best be compared with the Odean in 
Paris — Carlton Place and St. James's Park, the Queen's 
palace with its triumphal arch imitated from that of the 
Carrousel, render this part of the city one of the most 
brilliant in London. 

The architecture of the houses, or rather of the palaces 
that constitute this district, occupied by the wealthy classes, 
is altogether impressive and' monumental, although of a 
hybrid and often equivocal composition. Never have there 
been seen so many columns and pediments, even in an 
antique city. Surely, the Greeks and Romans were never 
so Greek or Roman as the subjects of His Britanic 
Majesty. You walk between two rows of Parthenons: 
that is flattering. You see nothing but temples of Vesta 
and Jupiter Sator, and the illusion would be complete if you 
do not read among the intercolumniations such inscriptions as 
" Gas Company," and " Life Insurance." These colon- 
nades and pediments at the first glance do not fail to pro- 
duce a certain effect of splendour ; but all this magnificence 
is for the most part produced by mastic, or Roman cement, 
for stone is very scarce in London. It is in the new 
churches, especially, that the English architectural genius 
displays the most peculiar cosmopolitanism, and makes the 
itrangest confusion of styles. Above an Egyptian pylon 


extends a Greek Order mingled with open Roman arches, 
the whole surmounted by a Gothic spire. This would 
make the meanest Italian peasant shrug his shoulders with 
pity. With very few exceptions, all the modern monu- 
ments are in this style. 

The English are rich, active and industrious : they can 
forge iron, tame steam, twist matter in every way, and in- 
vent machinery of terrifying power i they can be great 
poets I but art, properly so-called, will always be lacking to 
them, form in itself will always escape them. They feel 
this and it irritates them ; it wounds their national pride : 
they understand that at bottom, notwithstanding their pro- 
digious material civilization, they are merely varnished bar- 
barians. Lord Elgin, who was so violently anathematized 
by Lord Byron, committed a useless sacrilege. The 
Parthenon bas-reliefs did not inspire anybody when brought 
to London. The plastic gift is refused to the nations of 
the North : the sun, which places objects in relief, accen- 
tuates their outlines, and gives its true form to everything, 
illumines those pale regions with too oblique a ray. And 
then the English are not Catholics ! Protestantism is as 
fatal as Islamism to the Arts, and perhaps more so. Artists 
can be only Pagans or Catholics. In a country where the 
temples are only great square chambers, without pictures, or 
statues, or ornaments, where gentlemen in three-decker wigs 
talk to you seriously, and with many Biblical allusions, of 
Papist idols and the great whore of Babylon, Art can never 
attain great heights ; for the noblest end of statuary and 
painting is to fix in marble and on canvas the divine sym- 
bols of the religion in use in one's own country and 
period. Phidias carved the Venus, and Raphael painted the 
Madonna, but neither the one nor the other was Anglican. 
London may become Rome, but she certainly will never be 


Athens. The latter position seems to be reserved for Paris. 
There we find gold, power, material development in the 
highest degree, a gigantic exaggeration of all that can be 
done with money, patience and will ^ the useful and the 
comfortable, but not the agreeable and the beautiful. Here, 
intelligence, grace, flexibility, finesse, easy comprehension 
of harmony and beauty ; — in one word, Greek qualities. 
The English will excel in all that can possibly be done, and 
more especially in what is/ impossible. They will establish 
a Bible Society in Pekin ; they will arrive at Timbuctoo in 
white gloves and patent leather shoes, in a condition of 
complete respectability ; they will invent machinery to pro- 
duce six hundred thousand pairs of stockings a minute, and 
they will even discover new countries in which to market 
their stockings; but they will never make a hat that a 
French grisette would put on her head. If taste could be 
bought, they would pay high for it. Happily, God has re- 
served to himself the distribution of two or three little 
things over which the gold of the mighty upon earth has no 
power : Genius, Beauty and Happiness. 

However, in spite of these criticisms of detail, the gen- 
eral effect of London is one that causes astonishment and a 
sort of stupor. It is really a capital in the sense of civiliza- 
tion. Everything is grand, splendid and arranged accord- 
ing to the last degree of perfection. If anything, the streets 
are too wide, too big, too well-lighted. The care of ma- 
terial facilities is carried to the utmost degree. In this 
respect, Paris is at least a hundred years behind London. 
The English houses are very flimsily built, for the ground 
they occupy does not belong to the builder. The whole 
land in the city is possessed, as in the Middle Ages, by a 
very small number of great lords or miUionaires who per- 
mit building operations there for a price. This permission 


is purchased for a certain time, and it is so arranged that 
the house does not last longer than the lease. For this 
reason, in addition to the fragility of the materials employed, 
London is renewed every thirty years, and is able, as they 
say, to follow the progress of civilization. Added to this, 
the Fire of 1666 made a complete clearance, which for my 
part I greatly regret, because I am not greatly fascinated by 
modern architecture but prefer the picturesque to the com- 

The English spirit is naturally methodical : in the streets 
everybody naturally takes the right-hand side and regular 
streams of people going up and down are formed. A hand- 
ful of soldiers suffices for London, and even police have 
small occupation. I cannot remember having seen a single 
company of soldiers. The policemen, with numbered hel- 
met on head and bracelet on sleeve to show that they are 
on duty, stroll about with a tranquil and philosophical air, 
with no other weapons but a little staff hardly two feet in 
length, and thus traverse the most populous districts. This 
immense circulation of people, this terrible movement that 
gives one the vertigo is, so to speak, left to itself, and, 
thanks to the good sense of the throng, no accident 

The appearance of the populace is more miserable than 
in Paris. With us the workmen, the people of the lower 
orders, wear clothes made for them, coarse it is true, but 
of a special kind and that evidently has always belonged to 
them. If their vest is in holes to-day, we know that origin- 
ally they wore it when new. The grisettes and labourers 
are neat and clean notwithstanding the simplicity of their 
dress; but in London that is not the case: everybody 
wears a tail-coat, a pair of trousers and a tall hat, even the 
wretch who opens the door of your cab. 


The women all wear a hat and a long skirt, so that at 
first sight you think you see women of a superior class who 
have fallen into distressed circumstances either through mis- 
conduct, or misfortune. This arises from the fact that in 
LfOndon the common people dress in cast-off clothes ; and 
from degradation to degradation the coat of a gentleman ends 
by covering the back of a gutter-snipe, and the satin bonnet 
of a duchess covers the head of an ignoble drudge. Even 
in St. Giles, in that sad Irish quarter, which in horror and 
dirt surpasses anything that can be imagined, you see hats, 
and black coats often worn without shirts and buttoned over 
the skin that shows through the rents. St. Giles, however, 
is only a few steps away from Oxford Street and Piccadilly. 
This contrast is very violent. Without gradual transition, 
you pass from the most glaring opulence to the vilest 
misery. Carriages do not go down these alleys full of 
puddles in which ragged children are crawling, and where 
big girls with dishevelled hair, bare legs and arms, and a 
tattered shawl tied across the breast, stare at you with a 
haggard and savage look. What suffering, what famine is 
to be read on those faces so emaciated, wan, cadaverous, 
worn and pinched with cold. There you find poor wretches 
who have always been famished since the day they were 
bom : they all live on steamed potatoes, and very seldom 
have bread to eat. From privation, the blood of these un- 
fortunates becomes impoverished and turns from red to 
yellow, as medical men have affirmed. 

On the houses of some of these dwellers in St. Giles 
there are such notices as ^^ Furnished cellar for a single 
gentleman." This ought to give you a sufficient idea of 
die place. I had the curiosity to enter one of these base- 
ments, and I assure you I have never seen anything so 
bare. It would seem impossible for human beings to exist 


in such hovels: it is true that they die there by the 

This is the reverse of the medal of every civilization : 
monstrous fortunes are explained by frightful miseries. In 
order that a few may devour a great deal, many must fast : 
the higher the palace is raised the deeper must be the founda- 
tions, and nowhere is this disproportion so manifest as in 
England. To be poor in London seems to me to be one 
of the tortures forgotten by Dante in his spiral of sufferings. 
To possess gold is so visibly the sole recognized merit that 
the English poor despise themselves and humbly accept the 
arrogance and disdain of the easy and wealthy classes. The 
English, who talk so much about the idols of the papists, 
ought not to forget that the Golden Calf is the most in- 
famous idol of all, and the one that exacts the most 

The squares, which are very numerous, are a happy cor- 
rective of the fcetidness of these sewers. The Place Royal 
in Paris can convey the best idea of an English square. A 
square ,as a space surrounded by houses of uniform archi- 
tecture, 'the centre being a garden planted with great trees 
and enclosed by iron railings. Its sward of emerald green 
affords delightful repose to eyes tired by the sombre hues 
of the sky and the edifices. The squares often communi- 
cate one with another and occupy much ground. Splendid 
squares in the vicinity of Hyde Park are inhabited by the 
nobility : no shop nor storehouse is allowed to disturb the 
aristocratic quietude of these elegant retreats. Nothing 
could be more charming than these extensive enclosures, so 
tranquil, green, and fresh. It is true that I never saw anybody 
walking in these attractive gardens to which each of the 
tenants has a key : it is sufficient for them to be able to 
keep others out. 




The squares and the parks form one of the chief charms 
of London. St. James's Park, close to Pall Mall, is a de- 
lightful promenade. You go down into it by a wide flight 
of steps, worthy of Babylon, which is situated at the foot 
of the Duke of York's Column. The walk along the 
Egyptian terrace of Carlton Place is wide and beautiful. 
But what pleased me above all was the large sheet of water 
thronged with herons, ducks and other aquatic birds. The 
English excel in the art of giving to artificial gardens a 
romantic and natural appearance. Westminster, the towers 
of which peep above the clumps of trees, admirably closes 
the view on the river side. 

Hyde Park, where the horses and carriages of fashioa 
parade, looks quite rural and countrified by the extent of 
its water and green slopes. It is not a garden, but a land- 
scape. You are astonished to find such lai^ge open spaces 
in a city like London. Regent's Park, that contains the 
Zoological Gardens and is bordered by palaces in the style 
of the Garde Meuble and the Minister of Marine in Paris, 
is truly enormous. You can lose yourself in it. An un- 
ddation of the surface, of which very skilful use has been 
made, produces most picturesque eflSscts. 



THE truest and most significant remark ever made 
about London is to be found in the words of the 
illustrious Baedeker. ^' Not taking into account," 
he off-handedly remarks, ^^ the extensive outlying districts 
in the N. and N.E., which are comparatively uninteresting 
to strangers/' Those districts are larger and more popu- 
lous by themselves than most of the capitals of the world. 
Yet who could take them into account i 

London's children — such of them as have not sharpened 
their impulse to comparison by travel among other capitals 
— are wont to conceive of their mother city as hideous but 
monstrously impressive. Those who have travelled and 
compared will usually tell you the exact opposite. A few 
years ago, Mr. Grant Allen labelled London ^a Squalid 
Village," and instituted an elaborate comparison, to Lon* 
don's humiliation, with — Brussels. It was hard to bear, 
but it was largely true. Where Mr. Grant Allen was un- 
just, if I remember him aright, was in denying London not 
only form and comeliness, but beauty altogether. I should 
urge against him that London is the most beautiful, and at 
the same time the most provincial, of all the capital cities 
of the earth. 

Some capitals were born; some were made: London 
grew. In the task of looking like capitals, the cities which 
were bom start naturally with a huge advantage. To look 
like a capital a city wants order, unity of plane, the im- 



< V • ' ^ 


pression of stately completeness. You see it best, where 
you would least expect it, in the United States. Washing- 
ton is the best example : the men who laid it off, as their 
expressive phrase is, put the Capitol on an eminence in the 
middle, and grouped everything symmetrically round it. 
The streets were arranged in the national gridiron, with the 
Capitol as centre; the Mormon layers«ofF of Salt Lake 
City did the same with their Temple. In Washington 
they relieved the monotony of this plan by broad avenues 
cutting the gridiron diagonally. The result is that Wash- 
ington is unmistakably one city, as much a complete and 
artistic whole as is a play of Sophocles or a symphony of 
Mozart. All the parts relate one. to another. Washington 
has grown out of its. complete sym^nietry, it is true; it has 
spread, as cities will, more on one side than on another. 
But it remains a coherent, whole. When you are in one 
part you carry the locali^ of all other parts in your head, 
and all its architectural jewels are presented in the openest 
and most advantageous setting. 

The European capitals are too old for this deliberate 
symmetry. Mostly they come into the class of cities that 
were made. Paris was carved into cohesion by Hauss- 
mann with circles of boulevards and systems of avenues. 
Chicago, which is really a capital also, is following the 
example with a difierence : the magnificent avenues and 
gardens on the blue sea-front of Lake Michigan are its 
base, and it has buttressed its ring of boulevards with noble 
parks. Vienna transformed itself from a cramped mediaeval 
town to a capital by levelling its fortifications into the 
Ring — a circlet of palaces and parliaments, museums, gal- 
leries and courts, opera and university, without an equal for 
imperial stateliness. Other cities, less successful in group- 
ing their features, have aligned themselves along a great 


street. ^^Unter den Linden" is one example, with two 
palaces, two museums, opera and university and a dozen 
statues in a length of a mile, with a triumphal arch at one 
end and a square with palace, gallery, and cathedral at the 
other. The Rue Royale at Brussels is another — Alined with 
public buildings, with a panorama of the whole city break- 
ing away from one side and the elephantine Palace of 
Justice blocking it at the end. 

After all these take the night boat home and run in at a 
sunshiny dawn upon our beloved London. You will have 
seen nothing in all your journeying more beautiful than the 
morning sheen, half mist, half smoke, that gilds the endless 
ocean of roofs so tenderly. But when you set yourself 
down at Charing Cross, our dear London does not look like 
a capital. You are in the heart of it ; what do you see ? 
There is Nelson welcoming you back, certainly — he, too, 
you recall, was sea-sick on a small boat — and the National 
Gallery. But the Government offices are best seen from 
St. James's Park, and the Royal Palaces, dotted about by 
themselves, are best not seen at all; the Cathedral is a 
couple of miles away, looking out on to the narrow aUeys 
of Cheapside and Ludgate Hill, as the Palace of Justice 
coops in the narrow alley of Fleet Street; the Opera is 
tucked up in a vegetable-market, and for that matter is not 
to-day open ; the Houses of Parliament are in a comer to 
themselves, carefully posted where they destroy the view of 
Westminster Abbey ; the Abbey has. fortified its one visible 
side with Absurd St. Margaret's ; the University has no 
students, and the Municipal Buildings do not even pretend 
to exist at all. Poor London ! It has no centre and no 
shape ; it is all parts and no whole. 

The best way to impress a foreign visitor with London 
is to take him to the front of the Royal Exchange, tell 



him that the Mansion House is a charity school, and the 
Bank of England a debtors' prison — he will readily believe 
both falsehoods — ^and then divert his attention to the peo- 
ple. That boiling whirlpool of men is the real sight of 
London. And after all, somebody will say, it is men that 
make a great city. So it is in one sense, yet not in every 
sense ; else Epsom Downs on Derby Day is a great city. 
A capital, to strike the eye and get home to the imagination, 
ought visibly and succinctly to summarize the whole ac- 
tivity of a nation. Vienna does this for you in a walk 
round the Ring. There is the Emperor, the Imperial 
Family, there are the great nobles, Austrian drama and 
music and painting, the Catholic Church, the army, and 
the Stock Exchange — all represented concretely in archi- 
tecture. You may search London till your legs ache for 
any such summary of England, not to speak of the British 
empire, in a walk of an hour. 

But London is my native city, and I love every smut of 
it. It has the gift of an air which mantles it twice daily in 
matchless beauty. It has a river which is truly a living 
river — ^not a carefully preserved ditch like the Spree or 
Wien, or a toy like the Seine, but a highway of ships and 
a vista of endless mystery and grandeur. Steam up it at 
evening in the red eye of the sun, and see the smoky 
majesty of London rise luridly up to heaven, and you will 
never call it anything but the most wonderful and most 
awful of all cities. It is really the heart of the world. 
But inside it does not look like that. 



TO begin with, it is not a city by organization ; it is a 
collocation of overgrown villages lying side by side. 
It had until this year (1900), no centre, no heart, 
no representative body, no mayor, no alderman, no council, no 
wards ; it has not inherited Folk's Mote, Hustings, or Ward 
Mote ; it has therefore no public buildings of its own. There 
are vestry haUs and town halls, but they are those of the sep^ 
arate hamlets — Hackney or Stratford — not East London. 
It has no police of its own ; the general order is maintained 
by the London County Council. It is a city full of 
churches and places of worship, yet there are no cathedrals, 
either Anglican or Roman ; it has a sufficient supply of 
elementary schools, but it has no public or high school, and 
it has no colleges for the higher education and no univer- 
sity ; the people all read newspapers, yet there is no East 
London paper except of the smaller and local kind ; the 
newspapers are imported from Fleet Street; it has no 
monthly magazines nor any weekly popular journals, nor 
even penny comic papers — these also are imported ; it has 
no courts of law except the police courts \ out of the one 
hundred and eighty free libraries, great and small, of Lon- 
don, only nine or ten belong to this city — two of these are 
doubtful, one at least is actually falling to pieces by neglect 
and is in a rapid state of decay. In the streets there are 
never seen any private carriages; there is no fashionable 

quarter ; the wealthy people who live on the northeast side 



near Epping Forest do their shopping in the City or the 
^Vest End ; its places of amusement are of the humbler 
kind, as we shall learn in due course \ one meets no ladies 
in the principal thoroughfares ; there is not visible, any- 
iTvhere, the outward indication of wealth. People, shops, 
houses, conveyances — all together are stamped with the 
unmistakable seal of the working-class. 

There are no visitors to demand hotels ; there are also 
none to ask for restaurants. Consequently there are none. 
Dining-rooms, coffee-rooms, and places providing for the 
working-man, places of the humbler kind where things to 
eat may be had, there are in plenty. Most of the working- 
folk take their dinners in these places } but the restaurant 
of the better kind, with its glittering bars and counters, its 
white tables, its copious catering and its ciyil waiters, does 
not exist in East London. Is there any pther city of the 
world, with even a tenth part of this population, of which 
these things would be said ? This crowded area, this mul- 
titude of small houses, this* s^regation of mean streets — 
these things are the expression and the consequence of an 
expansion of industries during the last seventy years on a 
very laige and unexpected scale ; East London suddenly 
sprang into existence because it was unexpectedly wanted. 
A map of London of the year 1830 shows a riverside 
fringe of hamlets — a cluster of houses outside the City of 
London and along the two principal roads. For the whole 
of the district outside and around there are lanes and paths 
through fields and orchards and market gardens, with occa- 
sional churches and clusters of houses and detached country 

What appearance does it present to the visitor ? There 
is, again, in this respect as well, no other city in the world 
in the least like East London for the unparalleled magni- 


tude of its meanness and its monotony. It contains about 
five hundred miles of streets, perhaps more — sl hundred or 
two may be thrown in ; they would make little difference. 
In his haste, the traveller who walks about these streets for 
the first time declares that they are all exactly alike. They 
contain line upon line, row upon row, never-ending lines, 
rows always beginning, of houses all alike — ^that is to say, 
there are differences, but they are slight ; there are work- 
men's houses of four or five rooms each, all turned out of 
the same pattern, as if built by machinery ; there are rows 
of houses a little better and larger, but on the same pattern, 
designed for foremen of works and the better sort of em- 
ployees; a little farther off the main street there are the 
same houses, but each with a basement and a tiny front 
garden — ^they are for city clerks; and there are dingy 
houses up squalid courts, all of the same pattern, but 
smaller, dirty, and disreputable. The traveller, on his first 
visit, wanders through street after street, through miles of 
streets. He finds no break in the monotony ; one street is 
like the next ; he looks down another, and finds it like the 
first two. In the City and in the West of London there 
are old houses, old churches, porches that speak of age, 
courts and lanes that have a past stamped upon them, 
though the houses themselves may be modern. Here there 
seems to be no past ; he finds no old buildings ; one or two 
venerable churches there are ; there is one venerable tower 
— but these the traveller does not discover on his first visit, 
nor perhaps on his second or his third. 

Again, this city is not, as our casual observer in his 
haste affirms, made up entirely of monotonous lives and 
mean houses; there are bits and corners where strange 
effects of beauty can be seen ; there is a park more lovely 
than that of St. James's ; there are roads of noble breadth ; 


there is the ample river; there are the crowded docks; 
there are factories and industries ; there are men and women 
in East London who give up their lives for their brothers 
and their sisters ; and beyond the city, within easy reach of 
the city, there are woods and woodlands, villages and rural 
haunts, lovelier than any within reach of western London. 



IN the morning, long before sunrise, I went out, and 
walked towards the Thames. I was a few steps 
from London Bridge, in the heart of the City. I 
saw few pedestrians, a deep silence reigned, the sky was 
grey, it was cold, and a light mist veiled all objects without 
hiding them. I walked rapidly towards the bridge, know- 
ing that from there you get the best view of London. 

When I reached the middle of the bridge, I looked 
around me, a cold chill ran through me from head to foot, 
and I stood motionless. 

The view of Paris from the Pont-Neuf returned to my 
mind, and it seemed astonishingly little. 

Then I leaned upon the parapet, and I said to myself in 

the tone of one wishing to collect his ideas together: 

^^ Now then ! " All around me ran the broad Thames ; on 

one side, buildings lost in the distance ; on the other, a 

succession of bridges ; along both banks, near the bridge, 

massive and sombre houses, resembling old fortresses, piled 

up in disorder, and reflecting themselves in the water. A 

little farther away, large masses of sinister buildings, the 

great arched roofs of the railway stations, and long, straight 

lines like enormous bastions ; and, beyond, a confusion of 

broken lines and vague forms, graduating, little by little, 

into light bluish silhouettes until they finally presented a 

magnificent disorder in profile of chimney-stacks, towers, 

domes, and steeples wreathed with fog ; and, still farther 


» I 

« > 



■ » 1 



iway, mysterious perspective^ like distant towns that one 
divines rather than sees, their light denticulated lines being 
lightly sketched upon the grey horizon. And then, over 
all the neighbouring buildings, bridges and the banks, the 
sombre hue of smoke, the appearance of worn-out city, an 
aspect of strength and weariness, a — I don't know what of 
viscous and lugubrious,— like a village devastated by fire : 
a spectacle both immense and sad. 

I crossed the bridge and arrived at a little square on the 
left bank, and I looked down one of the streets that led 
towards St. Paul's Cathedral : it was deserted. I turned to 
the right, and, after two or three windings, I found myself 
in the fish-market, in a narrow street, damp and wet, and 
so filled with pedestrians and waggons that it was difficult to 
get across ; I walked on through such an intense odour of 
herring that within a few minutes I qould have had a relish 
for breakfast by rubbing bread upon my clothes ; I reached 
the famous Tower — ^the Bastille of London ; I made a tour 
around it, regarding its sinister walls defiantly; and I 
entered with haste the town of docks^ with the intention of 
taking such an extensive walk that I should not have to 
come back again. Long, tortuous streets, bordered with 
high and darkly hued walls, without doors or windows, like 
prison walls; groups of motionless workmen, numbering 
hundreds, in the squares and others silently vanishing down 
the dark alleys : for half an hour I saw nothing else. I 
advanced through these monotonous streets that reminded 
me of the windings of an old fortress, fatigued and melan- 
choly without knowing where I was going. Presently, 
after a long circuit, I perceived that I was returning to 
where I started from and that I must go in another direc- 
tion to take the right path. I had left St. Katharine's 
Dock behind me and I thought I must be coming to the 


end of the London Dock, and I resolved to go to the India 
Dock. I had threaded my way down a street, the end of 
which I could not see, a street bordered on the right by the 
walls of docks, and on the left by some little houses be- 
tween which other streets extended, long and narrow, and 
bordered with factory chimneys, walls of warehouses, and 
heaps of ugly, smoky houses ; and, in proportion as I ad- 
vanced, it seemed to me that instead of getting away from 
London, I was approaching the very centre of the city. 
But, full of belief in my own endurance and encouraged 
by my experience in Paris, where, to the great astonish- 
ment of my friends, I always despised carriages, I contin- 
ued my promenade without anxiety. There came, how^ 
ever, a time when I thought it would not be unwise to 
know where I was. On passing a group of workmen, I 
heard one of them speaking French; I stopped and 
asked him if the dock along side of me was the India 

Instead of replying, he repeated my question : ^^ Hiis, 
the India Dock ? " and he looked at me as if he thought I 
was mad. 

" But, is it, yes or no ? " 

^But, my dear sir," he replied, laughing, ^^ anyone 
could see that you do not know London. This dock 
is the London Dock** 

^^ Still the London Dock ! But I passed through its gate 
half an hour ago ! " 

^^ Eh bien! You do not know then that the tobacco- 
warehouse in the London Dock is an English mile long ? 

^^ But when shall I reach the India Dock ? 

'^ Do you wish to go by boat or rail ? " 

" I want to go by foot." 

He looked at my feet. 



I don't know," he replied, ^^ but I imagine that it is, at 
least, four or five miles/' 

^ And what are these four or five miles like ? " 

^ There are houses, docks, warehouses, offices and 

** Without any break ? " 

" Without any break." 

^ And after the India Dock, what next ? " 

^ From the India Dock you go to the Outer Dock/' 

^ And how far is it to the Outer Dock i " 

" Nearly another five miles." 

^ Always between houses and factories i ** 


" And to what does the Outer Dock lead i " 

" Opposite Greenwich." 

" And how long is it ? " 

** Two or three miles." 

" Always between habitations i " 

w Always." 

** And from Greenwich, where do you go ? " 

" To the East India Impon Dock." 

" And this is beyond Greenwich ? " 

" About eight miles." 

^Always between houses and factories?" 

** Always." 

" And then ? " 

"And then it goes on." 

"And where does it end ? " 

« Who knows." 

This time I looked at my feet myself. I took leave of 
the workman, and as I turned back very quietly I said to 
myself: "O poor idiot! you imagined you could come 
to London and walk everywhere ! " 


Again, I passed through the fish-market, crossed London 
Bridge and directed my way to the heart of the city. 

When I arrived in Fleet Street, the great movement had 
already begun. 

And then I saw London. . . . 

At noon, near the Tower of London, I stepped into a 
steamer leaving for Antwerp. 

The fabulous grandeur of London is not entirely re- 
vealed until you ascend or descend the Thames ; London 
Bridge and the City disappear if you watch them from the 
harbour; and the whole city of London shrinks away. 

When the boat started, the sun shone and the air was 
pure. We sailed between two rows of tall buildings, in a 
few minutes we passed by Saint Katharine's dock, which 
covers a space formerly occupied by twelve thousand in- 
habitants and which serves as a harbour for boats from the 
Netherlands, Germany, France and Scotland ; we left be- 
hind us those London docks which contain in their basins 
three hundred buildings and in their storehouses two hun- 
dred thousand tons of merchandize, and which give occu- 
pation to three thousand workmen from every country in 
the world ; and we advanced rapidly, almost scraping the 
buildings, the tugs, the transports, and the ships of every 
kind that come and go upon this great river. For a time, 
the view offered nothing extraordinary. Enormous moun- 
tains and endless rows of sacks, casks, boxes, and bales 
encumbered the quays, the embankments, the bridges and 
the entrances to the streets ; you saw the long enclosing 
walls, many black houses, and everywhere smoke from 
factories, machinery in movement, a great mob of work- 
men and sailors ; the same movement, but on a larger scale 
and more varied, that is to be seen in all large ports. It is 
only when you reach the great bend of the Thames, that 


you begin to remark that never before have you passed 
through such an immense avenue of boats ; and after this 
turn, you are greatly astonished still to find an endless view 
of masts and sails extending in a new direction. But it is 
quite another thing when you perceive that beyond these 
masts and sails and behind the great walls that extend the 
whole length of the two banks, there are still other forests 
of masts, dense, crowded together and confused; to the 
left, are the great basins of the West India Docks, which 
cover an area of a hundred hectare ; * to the right, the great 
Commercial Docks and the Surrey Docks which spread over 
many thousand acres of ground. You sail no longer be- 
tween two rows of buildings, but between two rows of 
wharfs, and the eye cannot take in the whole spectacle. 
When you have passed by the large Docks you travel for 
several miles between the small Docks ; but always between 
forests of masts, black walls of storehouses, as large as 
towns, and mountains of merchandize. You pass by the 
splendid hospital of Greenwich and you go around the Isle 
of Dogs. You have now been sailing for two hours ; ships 
become more rare, and although stores, factories and houses 
succeed each other without a break on each bank, the port 
seems to be coming to an end. You breathe again ! you 
had need of a little rest, you were weary of your constant 
wonder. You continue for about an hour and are already 
beginning to think of London as a far-away city, and of 
the hubbub of the harbour as a spectacle seen several days 
ago, when suddenly, here, at a bend of the view, are new 
rows of ships, new and extensive forests of masts and 
yards, new and immense docks, another port, — another im- 
posing spectacle. Here admiration resolves into stupefao* 

>Two hundred acres. 


tion : you seem to be dreaming. You would say that you 
are approaching another London. You pass by the East 
India Docks, you coast by the arsenal at Woolwich, you 
spin along the Victoria Docks which extend for three miles 
upon the left bank, and you advance always between endless 
walls, numberless ships, merchandize, machinery, smoke, 
whistles, departures, arrivals, flags of every nation under 
the sun, figures of all colours, words of unfamiliar tongues 
which reach you from neighbouring vessels, peculiar clothes, 
and savage cries which suggest to your imagination seas 
and distant rivers. And this spectacle lasts for three hours ! 
Although your wondering eyes have become fatigued, you 
are forced to admire afresh. Your brain becomes exalted, 
you experience no longer that feeling of half humiliation 
that made you at first resent a comparison with your native 
country ; you compare them no longer, you feel yourself 
becoming cosmopolitan, and national pride loses itself in 
human pride ; you see no longer the mere port of London, 
but the port of every country, the heart of the world's 
commerce, the meeting-point of the people of every race 
and every zone ; and, as your eyes are riveted, the thought 
leaps across continents, taking the great voyages described 
upon the globe by those myriads of ships that meet and 
salute, and takes part in the fatigues and infinite perils and 
the perpetual coming and going, upon land and water, — the 
eternal and indefatigable work of mankind ; and you seem 
to understand for the first time the laws of life and the 
universe. But while the boat flies along, the Thames 
grows lai^er, and the forests of masts now appear as if 
they were vast clumps of reed-grass, upon the horizon that 
is lightly gilded by the setting sun *, but docks still succeed 
to docks, basins to basins, storehouses to storehouses, and 
arsenals to arsenals. London, enormous London, is still 





I ! 


present; London, after four hours of sailing, follows us 
^' still ; to the right, to the left, before, — wherever we look, 
'^- . we still see, although with mingled doubt and terror, the 
^- ; monstrous city that ever works and ever grows richer. 



EAST LONDON, then, is a collcaion of new 
towns crammed with people; it is also a col- 
lection of industries; it is a hive of quiet, pa- 
tient humble workers; all its people live by their own 
labour ; moreover, it is a busy port with a population of 
sailors, and those <who belong to sailors, and those who 
make their livelihood out of sailors, and such as go down 
to the sea in ships. Its riverside is cut up with docks ; in and 
about among the houses and the streets around the docks 
rise forests of masts ; there is no seaport in the country, 
not even Portsmouth, which is so chaxged and laden with 
the atmosphere of ocean and the suggestion of things far 
oS as this port of London and its riverside. The port and 
the river were here long before East London was begun. 
The port, however, was formerly higher up, below London 
Bridge. It was one of London's sturdy mayors who 
bluntly reminded a king, when he threatened to take away 
the trade of London, that, at least, he would have to leave 
them the river. For you see, while the river runs below 
London Bridge, it is not much harm that any king, even a 
mediaeval monarch can do to London trade. 

And now come with me ; let us walk quietly about this 
strange city which has so little to show except its people 
and their work. 

We will begin with the riverside, the port and the Pool 
and the ^^ hamlets '' which lie beside the river. 



There is one place in London where, at any time of day 
and all the year round, except in days of rain and snow, 
you may find a long line of people, men and women, boys 
and girls — people well dressed and people in rags, people 
who are halting here on their errands or their business, and 
people who have no work to do. They stand here, side by 
side, leaning over the low wall, and they gaze earnestly and 
intently upon the river below. They do not converse with 
each other ; there is no exchange of reflections ; they stand 
in silence. The place is London Bridge ; they lean against 
the wall and they look down upon the Pool — that is to say, 
upon the reach of the river that lies below London Bridge. 
I have never crossed the bridge without finding that long 
line of interested spectators. They are not in a hurry -, 
they seem to have nothing to do but to look on } they are 
not, apparently, country visitors ; they have the unmistak- 
able stamp of London upon them, yet they never tire of 
the prospect before them ; they tear themselves away un- 
willingly; they move on slowly; when one goes another 
takes his place. What are they thinking about i Why are 
they all silent ? Why do they gaze so intently ? What is 
it that attracts them i They do not look as if they were 
engaged in mentally restoring the vanished past ; I doubt 
whether they know anything of any past. Perhaps their 
imagination is vaguely stimulated by the mere prospect of 
the fiill flood of river and by the sight of the ships. As 
they stand there in silence, their thoughts go forth; on 
wings invisible they are wafted beyond the river, beyond 
the ocean, to far-ofF lands and purple islands. At least I 
hope so; otherwise I do not understand why they stand 
there so long, and are so deeply wrsipped in thought. 

To those who are ignorant of the fact that London is one 
of the great ports of the world the sight of the Pool would 


not convey that knowledge. What do we see ? Just be- 
low us on the left is a long, covered quay, with a crane 
upon it. Bales and casts are lying about. Two steamers 
are moored beside the quay ; above them are arranged 
barges, three or four side by side and about a dozen in all ; 
one is alongside the farther steamer, receiving some of her 
cargo; on the opposite shore there are other steamers, with 
a great many more barges, mostly empty ; two or three 
tugs fight their way up against the tide; heavily laden 
barges with red sails, steered by long sweeps, drop down 
with the ebb ; fishing smacks lie close inshore, convenient 
for Billingsgate market ; there is a two-masted vessel, of 
the ^kind that used to be called a ketch, lying moored in 
midstream — what is she doing there I 

The steamers are not the great liners ; they are much 
smaller craft. They run between London and Hambuig, 
London and Antwerp, London and Dieppe. Tlie ships 
which bring the treasures of the world to London port are 
all in the docks where they are out of sight ; there is no 
evidence to this group of spectators from the bridge of 
their presence at all, or of the rich argosies they bear 
within them. 

You should have seen this place a hundred years ago. 
Try to carry your imagination so far back. Before you lie 
the vessels in long lines moored side by side ; they form 
regular streets, with broad waterways between; as each 
ship comes up-stream it is assigned its place. Tliere are 
no docks; the ships receive or discharge their cargo by 
means of barges and lighters, of which there are thousands 
on the river; there are certain quays at which everything 
is landed, in the presence of custom house officers, landing 
surveyors, and landing masters. All day long and all the 
year round, except on Sunday, the barges are going back- 


ward and forward, lying alongside, loading and unloading ; 
all day long you will hear the never-ending shouting, order- 
ing, quarrelling, of the bargees and the sailors ; the Pool is 
as full of noise as it is full of movement. Every trade and 
every country are represented in the Pool; the rig, the 
lines, the masts of every ship proclaims her nationality and 
the nature of her trade. There are the stately East and 
West Indiamen, the black collier, the brig and the brigan- 
tine and the schooner, the Dutch galliot, the three-masted 
Norw^an, the coaster, and the multitudinous smaller 
craft — the sailing barge, the oyster boat, the smack, the 
pinnace, the snow, the yacht, the hugger, the hog boat, the 
ketch, the hoy, the lighter, and the wherries, and always 
ships dropping down the river with the ebb, or making their 
slow way up the river with the flow. 

Steam is a leveller by sea as well as on land ; on the 
latter it has destroyed the picturesque stage-coach and the 
post-chaise and the Berlin and the family coach ; by sea it 
banishes the old sailing craft of all kinds ; one after the 
other they disappear i how many landsmen are there who 
at the present day know how to distinguish between brig 
and brigantine, between ketch and snow ? 

I said there is no history to speak of in f^t London. 
The Pool and the port must be excepted ; they are full of 
history, could we stop for some of it — the history of ship- 
building, the expansion of trade, the pirates of the German 
Ocean \ when one begins to. look back the things of the 
past arise in the mind, one after the otiier and are acted 
i^ain before one's eyes. 



HOW diiFerent would have been the view presented 
from the same spot prior to the erection of the 
Monument, and the event which it commemo- 
rates, had there then been any means of obtaining such an 
elevation ; when Stratford, Hackney, Islington, and Char- 
ing Cross were suburban villages, with many a pleasant 
field between them and London ; when Lambeth and 
Southwark showed more trees than habitations ; and when 
St. Paul's was a long building with transepts projecting 
from the centre, north and south, and with a square tower 
rising upwards at the point of their intersection I A third 
and still more extraordinary view has yet to be mentioned — 
the view which met the eye of the well-known diarist 
Pepys, when he went up to the top of Barking Church, and 
there saw the ^^ saddest sight of desolation ** perhaps ever 
beheld. But let us not anticipate. 

It was on the " Lord's Day," says Pepys, " the 3d of Sep- 
tember, 1666, that some of our maids sitting up last night 
to get things ready against our feast to-day, Jane called us 
up about three in the morning to tell us of a great fire they 
saw in the city. So I rose and slipped on my night-gown, 
and went to the window ; and thought it to be on the back- 
side of Mark Lane at the farthest, but, being unused to 
such fires as followed, I thought it far enough ofF; and so 
went to bed again, and to sleep. About seven rose again to 
dress myself, and then looked out at the window, and saw 
the fire not so much as it was, and further ofF. . . • 




By and by Jane comes and tells me that she hears that 
above three hundred houses have been burned down to- 
night by the fire we saw, and that it is now burning down 
all Fish Street by London Bridge. So I made myself ready 
presently, and walked to the Tower, and there up upon one 
of the high places. Sir J. Robinson's little son going up 
with me ; and there I did see the houses at that end of the 
bridge all on fire, and an infinite great fire on this and the 
other side the end of the bridge." 

The conflagration, which in so short a space had exhib- 
ited its destructive character, broke out some time after 
midnight, in the house of one Fanyner, the King's Baker, 
in Pudding Lane. This person stated, in his evidence be- 
fore a Committee of the Hpuse of Commons, that he had 
after twelve o'clock on Saturday night, gone through every 
room, and found no fire but in one chimney, where the 
room was paved with bricks, which fire he diligently raked 
up in embers. As a matter of fact, this was all he could 
state : as to his opinions, he expressed himself as decidedly 
satisfied that his house must have been purposely fired. 
Whatever its origin, the progress of the fire was most start- 
ling, — we should say wonderful, but that the construction 
of the houses — generally timber, pitched over on the out- 
side — the thatched roofs, and the narrowness of the streets, 
where^ the buildings of the opposite sides almost touched 
each other, were all evidently calculated to facilitate in the 
very highest degree the ravages of the fearful element. 
Nor was this all. The month of August had been charac- 
terized by an extraordinary drought, and the timber of the 
houses had been as it were half burnt already by the con- 
tinual heat ; and lastly during nearly the whole time the fire 
lasted, a furious east wind blew ; making in all such an un- 
happy conjunction of circumstances, that we need not 


wonder that other than pious people looked with fear and 
trembling on the event, as some more than ordinary visita- 
tion of an offended Deity. 

The then Lord Mayor, on whose steadiness, judgment, 
and boldness so much depended, appears to have been un- 
equal to the occasion ; and thus, the first few hours being 
lost without any decisive measures, all was lost. Early in 
the forenoon, Pepys went to Whitehall, and received from 
the King a command to bid the Mayor ^^ spare no houses, 
but pull down before the fire every way/' After long 
search, Pepys ^^ met my Lord Mayor in Cannon Street like 
a man spent, with a handkerchief about his neck. To the 
King's message he cried, like a fainting woman, ^ Lord, 
what can I do ? I am spent ; people will not obey me. I 
have been pulling down houses ; but the fire overtakes us 
faster than we can do it ; ' that he needed no more soldiers ; 
and that, for himself, he must go and refresh himself, hav- 
ing been up all night. So he left me, and I him, and 
walked home ; seeing people almost distracted, and no man- 
ner of means used to quench the fire. The houses too so 
very thick thereabouts, and full of matter for burning, as 
pitch and tar, in Thames Street ; and warehouses of oil and 
wines, and brandy, and other things." Soon after he ^* met 
with the King and Duke of York in their baige, and with 
them to Queenhithe. . • . River full of lighters and 
boats taking in goods, and goods swimming in the water ; 
and I observed that hardly one lighter or boat in three that 
had the goods of a house in, but there was a pair of virgi- 
nals in it." Pepys's observing eye noticed also that the 
^^ poor pigeons were loth to leave their houses, but hovered 
about the windows and balconies till they burned their 
wings and fell down." 

In the afternoon Pepys is on the ^^ water again, and to 


the fire, up and down, it is still increasing, and the wind is 
great. So near the fire as we could for smoke ; and all over 
the Thames, with one's face in the wind, you were almost 
burned with a shower of fire-drops. This is very true ; so 
as houses were burned by these drops and flakes of fire, 
three or four, nay, five or six houses, one from another. 
^Vhen we could endure no more upon the water, we took a 
little ale-house on the Bankside (Southwark), over against 
the Three Cranes, and there staid till it was almost dark, 
and saw the fire grow, and, as it grew darker, appeared 
more and more, and in corners, and upon steeples, and be- 
tween churches and houses, as far as we could see up the 
hill of the City, in a most horrid malicious, bloody flame, 
not like the fine flame of an ordinary fire. . . . We 
staid till, it being darkish, we saw thef fire as only one entire 
arch of fire from this to the other side the bridge, and in a 
bow up the hill for an arch of above a mile long : it made 
me weep to see it." ... 

By Tuesday, the 5th, the fire had reached the end of 
Fetter Lane in Holborn, and the entrance of Smithfield. 
But now the wind somewhat abated, and the spirits of the 
people rose in a still greater proportion. Instead of pulling 
down houses by ^^ engines ** as they had before done, gun- 
powder was used, which soon produced gaps too wide to be 
overleaped by the fire; a measure that, according to 
Evelyn, ^^ some stout seamen proposed early enough to have 
saved near the whole city; but this some tenacious and 
avaricious men, aldermen, etc., would not permit, because 
their houses must have been of the first." About noon the 
fury of the flames began sensibly to abate in most parts, 
although they burned as fiercely as ever towards Cripple- 
gate and the Tower. But the fire was gradually checked 
here also by the same means. 


From the inscription on the north side of the Monument 
it appears that the total amount of destruction was ^ eighty- 
nine churches, the City gates, Guildhall, many public 
structures, hospitals, schools, libraries, a vast number of 
stately edifices, thirteen thousand, two hundred dwelling- 
houses, four hundred streets ; of twenty-six wards, it utterly 
destroyed fifteen, and left eight others shattered and half- 
burnt. The ruins of the City were four hundred and 
thirty-six acres from the Tower by the Thames side to the 
Temple Church, and from the north-east gate along the 
City Wall to Holborn Bridge. To the estates and fortunes 
of the citizens it was merciless, but to their lives veiy 
favourable (only eight being lost), that it might in all things 
resemble the last conflagration of the world. The limits 
of the fire may be thus traced : — ^Temple Church, Holborn 
Bridge, Pye Comer, Smithfield, Aldersgate, Crippl^ate, 
near the end of Coleman Street at the end of Basinghall 
Street by the Postern, at the upper end of Bishopgate Street, 
in Leadenhall Street, by the Standard in Cornhill, at the 
Church in Fenchurch Street, by the Clothworkers' Hall, at 
the middle of Mark Lane, and at the Tower Dock. The 
part of the City left standing within the walls contained 
eleven parishes, occupying an area of seventy-five acres. 
And this was all that the Great Fire had leh of London ! 
A table of estimates of the loss is given in Maitland's 
History^ which amounts to nearly iltven millions. 

On the completion of the Monument, the genius of 
Cibber, the well-known sculptor of the figures of the two 
lunatics on the gates of old Bethlehem Hospital, was put 
into requisition to decorate the front part of the pedestal 
with an emblematical representation of the destruction and 
restoration of the City. It is not, however, one of the 
happiest of his eflForts. The work is in alto and bas-relief, 


and contains numerous figures, symbols, and decorations. 
We have already transcribed a portion of the inscription on 
the north side of the Monument; that on the south com- 
memorates what was done for the improvement of London 
in its rebuilding ; another, on the east, the names of the 
Mayors of London who held office during its erection ; 
and beneath this was originally a fourth, ascribing the fire 
to the ^ treachery and malice of the Popish faction ; " which 
was cut away in the reign of James, then restored in deep 
characters during that of William IIL, and again erased a 
few years ago by a vote of the Corporation. Our readers 
JU3e,of course aware that it is to this Pope refers in his 
famous line where he says the Monument, 

*' like a tall bully, lifb its head and lies. 




ALF a mile below London Bridge, on ground 
which was once a bluiF, commanding the 
Thames from St. Saviour's Creek to St. 01ave*s 
Wharf, stands the Tower ; a mass of ramparts, walls, and 
gates, the most ancient and most poetic pile in Europe. 
n\. Seen from the hill outside, the Tower appears to be 
white with age and wrinkled by remorse. The home of 
our stoutest kings, the grave of our noblest knights, the 
scene of our gayest revels, the field of our darkest crimes, 
that edifice speaks at once to the eye and to the soul. 
Grey keep, green tree, black gate, and frowning battlement, 
stand out, apart from all objects far and near them, menac- 
ing, picturesque, enchaining ; working on the senses like a 
spell; and calling us away from our daily mood into a 
world of romance, like that which we find painted in light 
and shadow on Shakespeare's page. 

Looking at the Tower as either a prison, a palace, or a 
court, picture, poetry, and drama crowd upon the mind ; 
and if the fancy dwells most frequently on the state prison, 
this is because the soul is more readily kindled by a human 
interest than fired by an archaic and official fact. For one 
man who would care to see the room in which a council 
met or a court was held, a hundred men would like to see 
the chamber in which Lady Jane Grey was lodged, the cell 
in which Sir Walter Raleigh wrote, the tower from which 
Sir John Oldcastle escaped. Who would not like to stand 



for a moment by those steps on which Anne Boleyn knelt ; 
pause by that slit in the wall through which Arthur De la 
Pole gazed; and linger, if he could, in that room in which 
Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley, searched the New Testa- 
ment tc^ether ? 

The Tower has an attraction for us akin to that of the 
house in which we were born, the school in which we 
were trained. Go where we may, that grim old edifice on 
the Pool goes with us ; a part of all we know, and of all 
we are. Put seas between us and the Thames, this Tower 
will cling to us like a thing of life. It colours Shake- 
speare's page. It casts a momentary gloom over Bacon's 
story. Many of our books were written in its vaults ; the 
Duke of Orleans' ^Poesies,' Raleigh's' ^Historie of the 
World,' Eliot's * Monarchy of Man,' and Penn's 'No 
Cross, No Crown.' 

Even as to length of days, the Tower has no rival 
among palaces and prisons; its origin, like that of the 
Iliad, that of the Sphinx, that of the Newton Stone, being 
lost in the nebulous ages, long before our definite history 
took shape. Old .writers date it from the days of Caesar; 
a l^end taken up by Shakespeare and the poets, in favour 
of which the name of Caesar's Tower remains in popular 
use to this very day. A Roman wall can even yet be 
traced near some parts of the ditch. The Tower is men- 
tioned in the Saxon Chronicle, in a way not incompatible 
with the fact of a Saxon stronghold having stood upon this 
spot. The buildings as we have them now in block and 
plan were commenced by William the Conqueror ; and the 
series of apartments in Caesar's tower, — ^hall, gallery, 
council-<hamber, chapel, — were built in the early Norman 
reigns, and used as a royal residence by all our Norman 
kings. What can Europe show to compare against such a tale i 


Set against the Tower of London — with its eight hun- 
dred years of historic life, its nineteen hundred years of 
traditional fame — ^all other palaces and prisons appear like 
things of an hour. The oldest bit of palace in Europe, 
that of the west front of the Burg in Vienna, is of the 
time of Henry the Third. The Kremlin in Moscow, the 
Doge's Palazzo in Venice, are of the Fourteenth '^Century. 
The Seraglio in Stamboul was built by Mohammed the 
Second, l^he oldest part of the Vatican was commenced 
by Borgia, whose name it bears. The old Louvre was 
commenced in the reign of Henry the Eighth ; the Tuileries 
in that of Elizabeth. In the time of our Civil War 
Versailles was yet a swamp. Sans Souci and the Escurial 
belong to the Eighteenth Century. The Serail of Jerusalem 
is a Turkish edifice. The palaces of Athens, of Cairo, or 
Teheran, are all of modern date. 

Neither can the prisons which remain in fact as well as 
in history and drama — with the one exception of St. 
Angelo in Rome— compare against the Tower. The Bas- 
tiUe is gone; the Bargello has become a museum; the 
Piombi are removed from the Doge's roof. Vincennes, 
Spandau, Spilberg, Magdebuig, all are modem in compar- 
ison with a jail from which Ralph Flambard escaped so 
long ago as the year iioo, the date of the First Crusade. 

Standing on Tower Hill, looking down on the dark lines 
of wall — picking out keep and turret, bastion and bailtum, 
chapel and belfry — ^the jewel-house, the armoury, the 
mounts, the casemates, the open leads — ^the Bye-ward gate, 
the Belfry, the Bloody tower — the whole edifice seems 
alive with story ; the story of a nation's highest splendour, 
its deepest misery, and its darkest shame. The soil beneath 
your feet is richer in blood than many a great battlefield ; 
for out upon this sod has been poured, from generation to 


generation, a stream of the noblest life in our land. Should 
you have come to this spot alone, in the early day, when 
the Tower is noisy with martial doings, you may haply 
catch, in the hum which rises from the ditch and issues 
from the wall below you — broken by roll of drum, by blast 
of bugle, by tramp of soldiers — some echoes, as it were, of 
a far-ofF time ; some hints of a May-day revel i of a state 
execution ; of a royal entry. You may catch some sound 
which recalls the thrum of a queen's viiginal, the cry of a 
victim on the rack, the laughter of a bridal feast. For all 
these sights and sounds — the dance of love and the dance 
of death — are part of that gay and tragic memory which 
clings around the Tower. 

From the reign of Stephen down to that of Henry of 
Richmond, Caesar's tower (the great Norman keep, now 
called the White tower) was a main part of the royal pal- 
ace ; and for that large interval of time, the story of the 
White tower is in some sort that of our English society as 
well as of our English kings. Here were kept the royal 
wardrobe and the royal jewels ; and hither came with their 
goodly wares, the tiremen, the goldsmiths, the chasers and 
embroiderers, from Flanders, Italy, and Almaigne. Close 
by were the Mint, the lions' dens, the old archery-grounds, 
the Court of King's Bench, the Court of Common Pleas, 
the Queen's gardens, the royal banqueting-hall ; so that 
art and trade, science and manners, literature and law, sport 
and politics, find themselves equally at home. 

Two great architects designed the main parts of the Tower; 
Gundul the Weeper and Henry the Builder ; one a poor 
Norman monk, the other a great English king. 

The Tower was divided into two main parts ; an Inner 
Ward and an Outer Ward ; the first part being bounded by the 
old wall, crowned by twelve mural towers ; the second part 


being bounded by the soil which fringed the slopes leading 
down into the ditch. A man who would read aright the 
many curious passages in our history of which the State 
Prison is the scene, must bear this fact of the two wards 
constantly in his mind. 

The Inner Ward, planned and partly built by the Monk 
of Bee, was the original fortress ; of which the defending 
ditch lay under the ballium wall. It contained the keep, 
the royal gall^es and rooms, the Mint, the Jewel House, 
the Wardrobe, the Queen*s garden, St. Peter's Church, 
the open green, the Constable's tower, the Brick tower, 
in which the Master of the Ordnance lived, the Great 
Hall, quarters for the archers and bowmen, and, in later 
days, the Lieutenant's house. This ward was flanked and 
covered by twelve strong works, built on the wall, and 
forming part of it ; the Beauchamp tower, the Belfry, the 
Garden tower (now famous as the Bloody tower), the Hall 
tower, the Lantern, the Salt tower, the Broad Arrow tower, 
the Constable tower, the Martin tower, the Brick tower, 
the Flint tower, the Bowyer tower, and the Develin tower j 
all of which may be considered, more or less, as defensive 
works ; even the Lantern, which had a vault for prisoners 
on the ground, a royal bedchamber on the main floor, a 
guard-room for archers and balisters in the upper $tory, and 
a round turret over these for the burning lights. Only one 
gateway pierced the wall ; a narrow and embattled outlet 
near the Water gate passing under the strong block house, 
now the Bloody tower, into Water Lane. The road 
springs upwards by the main guard ; a rise of one in ten ; 
so as to give the men inside a vast advantage in a push of 

This Inner Ward was the royal quarter. 

The Outer Ward, which owed its plan and most of its 


execution to Henry the Third, lay between the ballium and 
the outer scarp of the ditch, with a protected passage into 
the Thames. It contained some lanes and streets below 
the wall, and works which overlooked the wharf. In this 
ward stood the Middle tower, the Bye-ward tower, the 
Water gate, the Cradle tower, the Well tower, the Galley- 
man tower, the Iron Gate tower. Brass Mount, Legge 
Mount, and the covered ways. Into it opened the Hall 
tower, afterwards called the Record tower, now known as 
the Jewel house. Close by the Hall tower stood the Great 
hall, the doors of which opened into this outer court. 
Spanning the ditch, towards the Thames, stood the Water 
gate, a fine structure, built by Henry the Builder, which 
folk called St. Thomas tower, after our Saxon saint. 
Under this building sprang the wide arch, through which 
the tides flowed in and out from the river and the ditch i 
the water-way known as Traitors' gate. 

This Outer Ward was the folks' quarter. 

To the Inner Ward, common folk had no right of 
access, and they were rarely allowed to enjoy as a privilege 
that which they could not claim as a right. This Inner 
Ward was the King's castle, his palace, his garrison, his 
wardrobe, his treasury. Here, under charge of a trusty 
officer, he kept the royal jewels, secreted from every eye, 
except on a coronation day. Here rose his keep, with the 
dungeons in which he could chain his foes. Here stood his 
private chapel, and not far from it his private block. No 
man ever contested the King's right to do what he pleased 
in this quarter ; and thus, an execution within these lines 
was regarded by the world outside as little better than a 
private murder. 

Into the Outer Ward the Commons had always claimed 
a r^ht of entry, and something more than a right of entry ; 


that is to say, free access, guarded by possession of the 
outer gates and towers. 

Turning through a sally-port in the Bye- ward gate, 
you cross the south arm of the ditch, and come out 
on the Wharf; a strip of strand in front of the fortress, 
won from the river, and kept in its place by masonry 
and piles. This wharf, the work of Henry the Builder, 
is one of the wonders of his reign ; for the whole 
strip of earth had to be seized from the Thames, and 
covered from the daily ravage of its tides. At this bend of 
the river the scour is hard, the roll enormous. Piles had to 
be driven into the mud and slit ; rubble had to be thrown 
in between these piles ; and then the whole mass united 
with fronts and bars of stone. All Adam de Lambrun's 
skill was taxed to resist the weight of water, yet keep the 
sluices open by which he fed the ditch. Most of all was 
this the case when the King began to build a new barbican 
athwart the sluice. This work, of which the proper name 
was for many ages the Water gate, commands the only out- 
let from the Tower into the Thames ; spanning the ditch 
and sweeping the wharf, both to the left and right. So 
soon as the wharf was taken from the river bed, this work 
became essential to the defensive line. 

London folk felt none of the King's pride in the con- 
struction of this great wharf and barbican. In fact, these 
works were in the last degree unpopular, and on news of 
any mishap occurring to them the Commons went almost 
mad with joy. Once they sent to the King a formal com- 
plaint against these works. Henry assured his people that 
the wharf and Water gate would not harm their city. 
Still the citizens felt sore. Then on St. Geoi^ge's night 
(1240), while the people were at prayer, the Water gate 
and wall fell down, no man knew why. No doubt the 



tides were high that spring, and the soft silt of the river 
gave way beneath the wash. Anyhow, they fell. 

The whole wharf, twelve hundred feet in length, lay 
open to the Thames, except a patch of ground at the lower 
end, near the Iron gate, leading towards the hospital of St. 
Catharine the Virgin, where a few sheds and magazines 
were built at an early date. Except these sheds, the wharf 
was clear. When cannon came into use, they were laid 
along the ground, as well as trained on the walls and the 
mural towers. 

Three accents marked, as it were, the river front — the 
Queen's stair, the Water way, and the Galleyman stair. 
The Queen's stair, the landing-place of royal princes, and 
of such great persons as came to the l^ower on state affairs, 
by beneath the Bye-ward gate and the Belfiy, having a 
passage into the fortress by a bridge and postern, through 
the Bye-ward tower into Water Lane. The Water way 
was that cutting through the bank which passed under St. 
Thomas's tower to the flight of steps in Water Lane ; the 
entrance popularly known as Traitors' gate. The Galley- 
man stair lay under the cradle tower, by which there was a' 
private entrance into the royal quarter. This stair was not 
much used, except when the services of Traitors' gate 
were out of order. Then prisoners who could not enter 
by the approach of honour were landed at the Galleyman 

Lying open to the river and to the streets, the wharf was 
a promenade, a place of traffic and of recreation, to which 
folk resorted on high days and fair days. Men who loved 
sights were pretty sure to find something worth seeing at 
the Queen's stair or Traitors' gate. All personages com- 
ing to the Tower in honour were landed at the Queen's 
stair; all personages coming in disgrace were pushed 


through the Traitors' gate. Now a royal barge, with a 
queen on board, was going forth in her bravery of gold and 
pennons ; now a lieutenant's boat, returning with a culprit 
in the stern, a headsman standing at his side, holding in his 
hand the fatal axe. 

Beneath this arch has moved a long procession of our 
proudest peers, our fairest women, our bravest soldiers, our 
wittiest poets — Buckingham and StraiFord; Lady Jane 
Grey, the Princess Elizabeth; William Wallace, David 
Bruce; Surrey, Raleigh — names in which the splendour, 
poetry, and sentiment of our national story are embalmed. 
Most of them left it, high in rank and rich in life, to return 
by the same dark passage in a few hours, poorer than the 
beggars who stood shivering on the bank ; in the eyes of 
the law, and in the words of their fellows, already dead. 




ONE of the most picturesque and interesting streets 
in London is Bishopgate Street, which even now 
presents a very fair idea of how an old London 
street looked a couple of centuries ago. Many of its old 
wooden houses remain. Here are strange old churches 
that have never been altered or restored ; curious, retired 
little courts and squares, old inns, an old hall, or palace, like 
Crosby Hall, with a fine carved house. Sir Paul Pindar's ; 
while the traffic of the street and the general air seem to 
take insensibly the tone and complexion of an old-fashioned, 
obsolete kind. The course of the thoroughfare winds and 
bends in an original way, and it seems now to be, what it 
used to be, a busy highway, one of the great roads that led 
away out of London to the country. Still do the waggons 
and carriers depart in numbers, and the old inn-yards 
whence the coaches used to set off, are used for kindred 

How interesting are the old objects here clustered to- 
gether ! The Crosby Hall Palace, now a restaurant ; the 
retired Crosby Square, into which you pass by an archway 
from the street ; the quaint old church of St. Ethelbuiga, 
the truly interesting church of St. Helen's, in Great St. 
Helen's, also entered by an archway. From this a few 
winding turns lead us to the Ghetto, or Jew Quarter, Bevis 



Marks, St. Mary Axe and Houndsditch, names that have^ 
from association, a curious scent or flavour. 

Anyone possessed of taste and curiosity, whether he be 
architect or amateur, should be glad to see Crosby Hall, one 
of the most graceful and pleasing buildings in London. It 
is curious to think that this busy, bustling eating-house was 
once the Palace of '* Crook'd-back Richard." The framed 
and gabled front hangs over the street, displaying the well- 
restored 'scutcheons. There is an abundance of painted 
windows : when we pass into the squares, one of which is 
on each side, and see the great towers and mullioned win- 
dows that stretch behind, sheltered from the street, then the 
extending beauty of the relic strikes one. Loud and noisy 
as is the hum and clatter of Bishopgate, all becomes mys- 
teriously still in the old-fashioned tranquil square, and if it 
be growing dark the light within will illuminate the 
^^ richly dight " panes, and the tall window is shown in all 
its beauty as it reaches from the ground almost to the top 
of the elegant tower. " We doubt," says a good critic of 
these Lancastrian windows, ^^ if there be any specimen in 
any style, more graceful or more void of superfluities and 
affectations." If we enter the other square on the left, the 
picturesque Great St. Helen's, through the archway, we 
shall see the other end of the old hall, with an elegant 
window projecting, looking like a fragment of an old 

Within the Hall we find, thriving and busy, a spacious 
restaurant, crowded to excess at lunching hour. The grand 
old hall, where King Richard is supposed to have feasted, is 
now crowded with an enormous multitude of hungry City 
men. The proportions of this grand chamber, its Lan- 
castrian arched windows, placed high up and the beautiful 
oriel recess or window, have always excited admiration. 


Many years ago it was used as the home of a literary so- 
ciety, but is now put to more practical uses. In spite of 
the vulgarizing associations of the public restaurant, there 
is imparted a sort of vitality and dramatic animation which 
seems in keeping, and at least makes the old building glow 
with health and vigour. 

In the last century this place was actually degraded into 
a packer's warehouse ; the hall was ruthlessly cut into two 
stories, while a covered flight of steps led up to the first i 
and in a print of the time a packer with a chest on his back 
is actually shown ascending. This flight was built against 
the beautiful oriel. One is tempted to expatiate long on 
this charming little corner and dainty bit of art, whose 
grace the true connoisseur will recognize and appreciate. 
Who could think of such a gem being found in an eating- 
house or restaurant? The grand hall thus has quite a 
baronial and banqueting appearance, and for exquisite detail 
and beauty ^^ is one of the most perfect things domestic 
architecture ever produced." It is said, indeed, that this 
building is the only existing remnant of the domestic archi- 
tecture of old London, and dates from the year 1466. 

The two squares or " Places " adjoining, as they may be 
more properly called, are in their way full of picturesque 
incident. Great St. Helen's is a sort of surprise as we pass 
from the din and hurly-burly of the crowded street into 
its tranquil, secluded retirement, where all sounds seem dis- 
tant or muffled. Round us are old houses of sound red 
brick, devoted to business, but with a snug ^^ Cheeryble " 
air. On the left is an almshouse, not of much accommo- 
dation, with an inscription that it was founded by a Lord 
Mayor Judd, a name still of importance in the City. Op- 
posite is a fine, handsomely-carved doorway, worthy of 
ttudy^ while at the farthest corner rises a much-grimed old 


mansion, a fine specimen of old brickwork, set off with 
pilasters and enriched capitals and tablets after the pattern 
of Inigo Jones ; within one of these is a fine old staircase 
of much effect. 

But, in the centre is the old, well-known church itself — 


an aged, crumbling, sad-coloured, quaint-looking place, 
turning towards us the ends of its two forlorn aisles, rather 
bent or stooped with its years. Between these rises a poor, 
attenuated lantern, on which again is perched another, with 
quite an antique, old-world air, and a certain tone of squalor 
in its two lanky windows. In front is a poorish strip of 
churchyard through which a walk has been cut leading to a 
door. But on the right there is a fine, pretentious door- 
way, with its Jacobean, bold ^^ flourishings " — a cherub with 
puffed cheeks, and fine mouldings, while the timbers and 
bolts are still to be seen. 

A worthy old sextoness, who has her show business well by 
heart, is fetched from a queer little old house, which with its 
straggling shape, its one transept, its magnificent and digni- 
fied old tombs, is truly surprising. Not less curious is the 
way it speaks of the old arrangements that have passed 
away. The absent transept signifies the place where St. 
Helen's nuns used to hear mass. The ruins of the con- 
vent were to be seen in the last century. But the grand, 
stately tombs, with their canopies and the reposing knights 
in armour — one of which our sextoness boasts, ^^ is superior 
to anything in the Abbey " — are really a surprise. 



YOU might think of a dozen or a hundred bases of 
distinction between London and other capitals ; 
but you will always come back in the end to 
the one that struck you first — dirt. London is beyond 
comparison the dirtiest capital in the world. We suppose 
ourselves personally the cleanest people in the world, — and 
so we are. But we need not boast ; we are clean only in 
self-defence, because the city we live in is so immitigably 
grimy. We allege that London is a sanitary place, well- 
drained, with a low death-rate. So, for aught I know, it 
may be, though the looks of its inhabitants belie the state- 
ment. But, wholesome or not, it remains filthy — dusty, 
muddy, sooty, smoky, evil-smelling, sunless at noonday — 
filthy beyond the filthiness of the rottenest plague-spot in 
the East. It is the first thing that the arriving foreigner 
observes, the last thing that the returning Londoner forgets. 
This is not for want of gallant efforts to clean it ; but 
foul London remains. Foul, moreover, it always will be 
until somebody invents and enforces a practicable method 
of consuming smoke. Five million people, when you think 
of it, must needs produce smoke enough to blacken the sun 
like a copper kettle. The sun and the air and the trees 
and the river — and, not content with these, London blackens 
itself most impartially. Did you ever look out from a 
railway train over Southwark or Bermondsey — those sym- 
phonies in smudge ? On the intensest summer day the sky 



is never more than bluish : under it the landscape is a 
smoke-grey^ monotone of low chimneys and house-tops 
broken only by outcropping smoke-and-reddish board 
schools. All shapes, all light, all colour you see through 
a curtain of fine soot. You see it better here than else- 
where only because here the low houses permit a wider 
prospect; the colour hardly varies over the whole of 
London. Yet by a happy irony this very soot-veil is the 
only begetter of London's beauties. It tones down jarring 
colours and softens crude outlines. Everywhere it palliates 
ugliness, but along the river it creates loveliness. Here 
also is space to see its magic. At dawn it reinforces the 
mist, at sunset it plays the part of cloud. At every hour 
of day and night it blends, relieves, and graduates ugliness 
into unerring harmonies of delight. 

The Thames is beautiful up-river from London Bridge, 
but down-river it is also grand. Start from Old Swan Pier 
and steam down as far as Greenwich. Here at the very 
beginning is an epitome of the greatness of London. Above 
you on the left rises London Bridge — ^the road: gently 
rounded arches, monumental granite, onmibuses and vans 
gliding past above the parapet in an endless succession. On 
the right is Cannon Street bridge — the rail : level surface 
and upright piers, clanking iron, half-a-dozen great engines 
snorting on the track at a time. Behind and before you 
rise warehouses in spreading, precipitous cliiF-line. And at^ 
your feet swirls mightily the Thames, fouled with a thou- 
sand impurities, broken into eddies and billows by a 
thousand rushing tugs, bearing on the same strong 
fatherly bosom both London's oiF-scourings and London's 

As soon as you have come near to rapture at the noise, 
the energy, the wealth and power within your gaze, there 

«■• i^Bi^vii 


> h, ) A J >. « - * 


pants up to receive you the penny steamer. Your dilating 
$oul contracts in a second to dry sponge. And is this also 
London ? This ramshackle cockle-shell — is this London's 
best thanks for the gifts of Father Thames ? • . . But 
foiget, if the knife-board seats and the showering smuts 
will let you, the penny steamer ; for we enter the Pool of 
London. The Tower Bridge has spoiled it a little to my 
mind — ^not merely by its own intrinsic hideousness, by its 
disproportion to its surroundings, and the tawdy, castellated 
afiectations that make it look as if it were jealous of the 
Tower — ^but also because it breaks the wonderful transfor- 
mation from the river above London Bridge to the ocean- 
stream below it. Yet even with the Tower Bridge how 
great, how romantically suggestive, how soul-expanding is 
the Pool of London'! ' : , m -r 

Under the suffusing blend of smoke and silrtshine, com- 
pact yet open, it displays its riches, yet keeps a halo of 
mystery. The long and seemly face of the Custom House 
imposes order, the stark stone of the Traitocs^ Gate and 
Bloody Tower epitomizes the romance of London's past. 
The stout ships are eloquent of the romance of the present, 
panting and creaking, dischaiging the wealth of the Indies 
and the River Plate, gliding proudly up stream unwearied 
by numberless leagues through strange waters, stealing softly 
down the dwindling vista of wharves to tempt fortune in 
humming ports over the vast expanses beyond. The very 
line of wharves, the clifls of the southern shore, are loud 
with challenge to the fancy. Here are buildings, parts of 
London, full of Londoners, yet how many of us know as 
much as the way into them ? They look towards the river, 
and are a part of it. With their many decks, long lines of 
half-deadened, fast-closed windows, open doors on every 
tier disclosing hatchways, faces studded with rust-brown 


cranes and chains, blocks and tackle, they look almost like 
colossal ships themselves. 

Below the Tower they rise up on the north side also : 
you pass down a frowning avenue of wharves amd ware- 
houses. But always the benign sun-and-smoke clothes 
them with softness and harmony ; it softens their vermilion 
advertisements to harmony with the tinted azure of the sky 
and the vague grey-brown of the water. Brutal business 
built them, to ship and unship, and be as crass and crude as 
they would, but the smoke turns them into the semblance 
of sleepy monsters basking by the river they love. Pres- 
ently the tall sky-line breaks and drops ; let in between the 
monsters appears a terrace of tiny riverside houses, huddled 
together as in a miniature. There is a tiny tavern with a 
plank-built terrace rising on piles out of the water, a tiny 
shop all aslant, a tiny brown house with a pot-belly of a 
bow-window. It all babbles of Jack and Poll, of crimps 
and tots of rum, and incredible yarns in the bar-parlour. 
Next, between the dusky wharves, an Italian church-tower 
soars up out of a nest of poor houses ; the sun catches its 
white face and transfigures it. Then, the dearest sight of 
all— ships appearing out of the land, fore and main and 
mizzen, peak and truck, halliards and stays, and men like 
flies' furling topgallant-sails above the roofs of London. 
As we open the region of the docks we are in a great city 
of ships — ^big steamers basking lazily with their red bellies 
half out of water, frantic spluttering tugs, placid brown- 
sailed barges, reckless banging lighters — and behind all this, 
clumps and thickets and avenues of masts and spars and 
tackle stretching, stretching infinitely on every side. The 
houses have melted all away, and London is become a city 
of ships. 

Only a moment ; now comes a new transformation — z 


city of foi^es and engines and chimneys, industrial London. 
The precipitous wharves, the taper masts, are behind us 
now; on both banks the buildings crouch low to the water. 
The horizon recedes, and under the huge vault of cloud 
and smoke the river appears to widen with it. It is grow- 
ing dark, too ; a breeze whips up the stream. The gold 
drains out of the haze ; the Thames seems to awake and 
smile less benignly as it runs with a strong purposeful tide; 
the air is thick and grim. On either side, in winding 
reaches behind you, low parallels opposite you, dwindling 
but endless perspectives before you, toil the industries of 
London. Varnish-works, colour-works, chain-works, 
chemical works, rope-works, barge-builders, marmalade- 
faaories— everything. Here is a mere open shed, there 
the gibbet-like skeleton of an iron ship a-building, there a 
tangled pile of rubbish with an old boat on the top, oppo- 
site a building with serrated roof and squat chimney-stacks 
at the comers, like a burlesque of the keep of the Tower, 
in front a dropsied gasometer pointing the way to Wool- 
wich. And everywhere tall chimneys — slim and stubby, 
plain and tricked, belching, belching black smoke to thicken 
the austere canopy overhead. All along the river the 
blackening banks exude noisome stenches, twinkle with 
scarlet pin-points of fire, rattle and clang with the beat of 
iron on iron. Dirt in your nose and eyes, din in your ears, 
London closes down on you heavily, yet stirringly. 
Through this world of dirt, grim and unwearied, looms the 
greatness as well as the beauty of London. 



WHERE can the best view of London be ob- 
tained? Of all the tall towers that rise 
from its wide expanse which will yield the 
best results ? 

Do not trust interested persons for the answer. 
** What's the use o' goin' up the Tower Bridge ? " says the 
man of the Monunxent. ^^ You won't see better there nor 

^^ No, I ain't never bin up St. Paul's," admits the sexton 
of Bow Church, though he has been connected with his 
edifice in Cheapside for fifty years. ^* I dessay it's very 
nice up there ; but I ain't never been." 

He, like the man of the Monument — and human nature 
generally — is quite content with his own view. And 
justice compels us to add that both of these worthy men 
can boast of good views. Still there are others. Which is 
the best ? 

The Monument is probably the most popular. It is no 
uncommon occurrence for two thousand persons to toil up 
its 345 steps of black marble on a Bank Holiday; and 
during the summer months of July, August and September, 
numbers of persons flock thither from all parts of the world. 

But the vi^w is partial only; the very vastness of 
London, the smoke veil — now thin and hazy, now dark 
and dense — ^resting eternally over the mighty city, and the 
difficulty of obtaining an all-round, comprehensive view 


r M L N -~ "vV V " ^ F.. Tj 

• si OH. '..r.N " f. r 


from the gallery, with the column rising still forty feet 
higher in the centre behind you, all account for this piece- 
meal view. 

A broader, wider, and more comprehensive sight is to be 
gained from St. Paul's — a sight which is perhaps the finest 
and the best all-round view of London now open to the 
public. The tower of Bow Church and the lofty Shot 
Tower on the Surrey side of the river, both giving splendid 
views, are not usually available, while the towers of the 
Houses of Parliament are rigidly closed. 

Further, the Stone Gallery of St. Paul's is 200 feet 
high, and stands on practically the highest ground in the 
old City, while the gallery on the Monument down by the 
river is but 160 feet above the pavement. The view it 
yields is by no means to be despised, and the. sight given by 
its handsome neighbour the Tower Bridge is ^Iso very fine; 
but the view from St. Paul's in general comprehensiveness 
surpasses both. 

Moreover, the Stone Gallery is spaciou^.and yet per- 
fectly safe. The spaces between the balustrades afford 
ample views and yet yield complete protection. You can 
commence by walking slowly round the gallery, when the 
vast panorama of buildings will pass continuously before 
your gaze ever bounded by the misty line of hills in the 

There are two outside galleries at St. Paul's whence you 
may view mighty London — the Stone Gallery just below 
the dome and the Golden Gallery at the top of the dome. 
But though the Golden Gallery is about a hundred feet 
higher, we cannot find that, as a rule, the view gained is 
really any better than from the Stone Gallery, and this for 
a very curious reason. 

At the Stone Gallery you are able on a fine day to look 


below the smoky veil of London and see something of the 
buildings and vast mass of houses spread beneath. But if 
you ascend to the Golden Gallery you are above the mist, 
and, looking down, you often see but a vast gulf of smoky 
haze blotting out the buildings, except the houses more im- 
mediately around the Cathedral. 

However, the view on a clear day from the Stone 
Gallery is excellent. Harrow, a dozen miles or so to the 
north-west, can be seen with fair distinctness, and the huge 
cup in which London, lies is more clearly defined than per- 
haps from any other height. The sides sweep round from 
Richmond Hill near the Thames, twelve miles distant, in 
the south-west ; past Norwood, crowned by the Crystal 
Palace, to Shooter's Hill and Greenwich Observatory Hill 
in the south-east ; while to the north stretches that long 
ridge of heights — crowned near Homsey by the Alexandra 
Palace — the ridge up which the railways climb before 
speeding away on their magnificent burst of near a mile a 
minute on their race to Scotland. 

Then, after this general view, you can begin to study the 
scene piecemeal, between each of the balustrades. 

Taken in this way the view grows upon you in an extra- 
ordinary manner. The mass of roofs, black and white, 
studded with green foliage, falls into perspective, and you 
can begin to distinguish a few of the more familiar build- 
ings. They appear strangely altered up here. Features 
which on the ground seem all important, appear dwarfed 
and insignificant amid the mass. The Guildhall, for 
instance — ^with all respect to the City Fathers— compares 
but very poorly with the superb tower and steeple of Bow 
Church in Cheapside. Judging from the remarks of 
spectators, we doubt if nine-tenths of the sight-seers notice 
the Guildhall at all. 







Steeples crowd around on every side ; their tall points 
t.: cut the sky and their diversity of form is intensely interest- 
ik. ing. Those in black were built after the Great Fire in 
}fi 1666, the black being due to the lead covering which was 
a:-, used after that calamity. Down below in the tightly- 
packed mass of buildings their beauty or quaintness can 
scarcely be seen : you must ascend to the Stone Gallery to 
h( j observe their shapeliness and diversity. At least thirty of 
Sir Christopher Wren's steeples can be seen from the 
Stone Gallery, and you never appreciated his genius as you 
I do now. 

Few streets can be traced out continuously — ^they are lost 
amid the mass of houses ; a few railways can be distin- 
guished by streaks of white steam from the engines ; a few 
huge gasometers are seen, even their great bulk appearing 
dwarfed ; the river sparkles in the sunshine, and here and 
there the children playing on the foreshore, when the tide is 
low, on the Surrey side, look like mere specks ; a bicyclist 
crouching over his machine and proud of its speed, appears 
like a curious insect; while ordinary people walking up- 
right do not look so small as might be imagined. Away to 
the south rises the dome of Bethlehem Hospital — popularly 
called Bedlam — ^suggestive of wise and humane treatment 
of one of the direst ills that can afflict mankind. Away to 
j the west rises another dome, larger and rounder, suggestive 
of learning and of study — ^the British Museum ; between 
the two rises a group of lofty and superb towers, suggestive 
of legislation and national history — ^the Towers of West- 

Many prominent objects you have noticed from St. Paul's 
you observe again from other heights. Standing on the 
Monument, the buildings are so tightly packed that they 
soon become indistinguishable one from the other, and soon 



bide the ribbon-like streets and crowds of black objects 
moving therein. For a short distance you observe some 
objects with fair clearness — Gracechurch Street you can 
trace and King William Street also, but Cannon Street is 
blotted out. No trace of St. Paul's Churchyard appears, 
though the noble dome and the western towers stand 
grandly out in their massive beauty. From every height 
you can see St. Paul's. Wren's masterpiece, with its cross 
of gold 400 feet high glittering over all, remains the most 
prominent object in the great sea of misty London. 

But the finest view of the cathedral is gained from the 
tower of Bow Church in Cheapside. Thence, if you get 
the right angle, you can behold it from near the base- 
ment to the cross with a proportionate view of the eastern 
end — which is often very difficult to observe in its relation 
to other parts of the noble building — and the whole stands 
revealed in all its majestic grandeur. 

To return to the Monument : — On the east rises another 
stately structure — ^the Tower Bridge, with its lofty castle- 
like piers. It has become a marked feature in London's 
panorama, and can be seen from almost every height. You 
gain a superb view of it from the Monument, as also of its 
ancient neighbour the historic Tower of London itself, 
with its great square white keep topped by its four turrets. 

The river winds so abruptly that you soon lose sight of 
it even from this height. The presence of the nearer docks 
is revealed by the masts of ships, but the tall buildings com- 
pletely hide the dock basins where the ships are floating. 
River, docks, ships, factories, soon become blurred into one 
vague indistinguishable mass, marked here and there by 
some more prominent object rising out of the misty sea. 
And you soon notice that the view is clearer to west and 
north-west than to east and south, because in these districts 


a greater number of factories belch forth their smoke. Still 
the ^^ cup " of London can be distinctly traced all round. 

Voices near you bring you back from the misty sea. 
^^What," drawls an American friend in his nasal twang — 
^ What is this a Monument of? " He is gravely reminded 
of the Great Fire, and told that the conflagration began near 
the Monument and ended somewhere near the Temple. ^^ It 
must have been a big thing," he admits, for he looks 
through his telescope, and opines that the Temple is a long 
way off. 

^^ And where is the Great Wheel ? " asks another voice. 
The question is significant. It shows that new features are 
constantly arising in the great panorama of London, and 
also how closely some things take hold of people's fancy. 
The first thing many of the Monument climbers now ask 
is, " Where is the Great Wheel ? " Veiled and softened 
in the smoky haze, it presents quite a fairy-like appearance, 
and its circular outline renders it quite unique. But it is 
six miles distant, and this fact again, if you dwell upon it, 
will give an idea of the vastness of London. For six miles 
through the mist stretches a vast mass of buildings until 
dimly as in a dream rises this fairy-like structure with its 
shapely outlines in the distant haze. 

The difficulty of recognizing even familiar objects amid 
the misty mass is sometimes very great, and Gracechurch 
Street even at your feet has been taken for King William 
Street ; and on the Stone Gallery of St. Paul's we heard a 
spectator positively assert that the two towers of St. Pancras 
Station were the lofty heads of the Houses of Parliament. 

The unseen windings of the river partly account for 
this. But to fully realize how completely the Thames 
doubles back on itself you should view it from the top of 
the lofty Shot Tower on the south side of the river near 


Waterloo Bridge. Then to sec the Tower Bridge, you 
must turn your head completely round, and to see the 
Houses of Parliament at Westminster you must turn com- 
pletely on the other side. Yet both are on the north bank. 

Perhaps the finest view of the Thames, within the limits 
of Waterloo Bridge on the west and Wapping Stairs on the 
east, is to be gained from the Tower Bridge. The river 
appears like a narrow ribbon barred with its bridges. It is 
300 feet narrower at London Bridge than at Westminster j 
and now it flashes gay in the sunshine, and now grows grey 
in the cloud. Boats of all kinds fleck its surface. Excur- 
sion steamers, tugs, cargo vessels, a few rowing boats, and 
numbers of barges, form a pleasing picture on the moving 
tide. But on neither side does the shipping give any ade- 
quate idea of the number of vessels entering the port of 
London, very many of them being tucked away in the ex- 
tensive docks. 

But much more comprehensive is the view from the 
tower of Bow Church. The Bow Gallery is smaller by far 
than the Stone Gallery of St. Paul's ; but you have a less 
obstructed view. The only obstructions are the ^^ bows *' 
rising at intervals from the parapet to the steeple, which 
still lifts its head above you. Bow Church, which gives its 
name to the historic Bow Bells, has been so called for 
centuries, because both the old and the present structures 
were built upon the ^^ bows," or arches, of an ancient Nor- 
man crypt ; and in the old church, destroyed in the Great 
Fire, and in the present building, the bows were reproduced 
on the tower itself. It is from the gallery just under these 
bows, or semi-arches, that one of the finest views of Lon* 
don can be obtained. 

Just beneath runs Cheapside, perhaps the most continu- 
ously crowded thoroughfare in the City. It seems nearly 


black with people, and the moving omnibuses look very odd 
covered with the hats of passengers. The Guildhall appears 
more marked and distinct than when seen from St. Paul's, 
and the General Post Office presents an imposing picture. 
But the Bank can scarcely be distinguished amid the mass 
of buildings, and the Mint by Tower Hill, which you could 
see from the Monument, seems completely lost in the 
crowd. On the other hand, most of the other salient fea- 
tures can be admirably seen ; and as for the towers and 
steeples, they crowd around you on every hand, plentifully 
mingled with lofty chimney stalks. There are great trees 
of telegraph wires at intervals, the dome of Bethlehem Hos- 
pital marks the south side of the river, and towards the 
north-east, the splendid spire of Shoreditch Church towers 
boldly up from the surrounding level of house-tops. The 
superb view of St. Paul's, the dome of the British Mu- 
seum, the Great Wheel, and the noble towers of West- 
minster, are all notable features to the west, while towards 
the east shines the glittering top of the grey Monument 
and the lofty heights of the Tower Bridge. But it is one 
of the chief characteristics of the view from Bow Church 
that you can see more of London in the mass, and more 
of its vast size, than from some other heights ; unless on a 
very clear day from the Golden Gallery of St. Paul's. 

Another very fine view is that to be obtained from the 
Shot Tower at the lead works of Messrs. Walker, Parker 
& Co., on the Surrey side of the Thames. This height 
which is the tallest available on the south side, yields a re- 
markable view of South London, and also of the Victoria 
Embankment, green with its trees and its gardens, and of 
numerous other buildings immediately on the north side of 
the river. You never imagined Somerset House was so 
noble a structure till you saw it from the Shot Tower. 


The Hotel Cecil, which you can see from nearly every 
height, presents here a most imposing front ; while as for 
the Nelson Column in Trafalgar Square, it seems nearer 
and clearer to you than ever before, and for the first time in 
your life you feel on speaking terms with the grave statue 
at the top. 

St. Paul's forms once more a grand object, and not far 
distant appear the gilt-topped Monument and the Tower 
Bridge. The south side, save for St. Saviour's, South- 
wark, and a few other steeples and chimneys, seems sadly 
deficient in very tall structures. But the mass of buildings 
which stretches away on either hand seems interminable 
until you come to the sunlit hills by the glittering Crystal 
Palace, backed by glimpses of the dim misty line of hills 
beyond. Where once you saw a sea of mist from St. 
Paul's is now, from this nearer vantage, filled with a mass 
of buildings. 

But one of the marked features of this view is the aspect 
you gain of London's cup — in other words, the slope of 
the ground on either side of the Thames. On the north 
the rise is much more abrupt, and continuous almost from 
the north bank ; on the south the ground appears much 
more level until you approach nearer the hills about 

The towers of Westminster Palace — which seem so near 
to us now, have been for some years rigidly closed to the 
public. The tower of the National Liberal Club, on the 
north bank of the Thames is only available to members and 
such friends as members may take with them. But the 
views from these buildings range largely over the west, both 
north and south of the river. It is astonishing how far the 
province of houses is extending in these directions, and 
here, too, the misty rim of London's ^^ cup " is apparent, 


and seems to run down to the distant Thames, while 
masses of greenery appear, which we know to be the West 
End Parks. The view of the river westward is no longer 
barred by the bend about Waterloo, but after Lambeth and 
Vauxhall bridges it takes another decided turn to the south- 
west. The old tower of Lambeth Palace rises on the south 
side, and the fretted towers of the Abbey lift their beauti- 
ful heads just beside us, and not far distant stands the Duke 
of York's Column. 

From the Clock Tower of the House of Commons — 
special access to which we owe to the courtesy of the Hon. 
Reginald Brett — the view along Whitehall and slightly to 
the left, over the masses of foliage marking St. James's 
Park, the Green Park and Hyde Park, is very fine. Just 
below, and stretching northward lies the grey ribbon of 
Whitehall flecked with its numbers of hansom cabs look- 
ing like toy vehicles out of the Lowther Arcade. At the 
end of Whitehall opens out Charing Cross and Trafalgar 
Square, with the noble Nelson's Column, the fountains, and 
the National Gallery, with its ^^ pepper-box " dome. To 
the right rises the splendid tower of St. Martin's Church, 
and, at the back, the vague mass of roofs slopes upwards 
towards the northern heights, now bright with sunshine, 
now shadowed by cloud. Immediately on the left of 
Whitehall rise the fine buildings of the Home Office; 
then, across the Horse Guards' Parade, appear the new of- 
fices of the Admiralty ; still to the left, the foliage of St. 
James's Park is massed together, but broken and inter- 
nipted by the shining of the lake in the park ; while further 
afield srill, amidst the greenery, glint and glimmer the 
waters of the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Few church 
steeples mark the prospect in this West End view, but 
there is an abundance of noble and historic buildings — 


Carlton House Terrace, St. James's Palace, and Bucking* 
ham Palace. Again to the east we see St. Paul's towering 
oyer all. It is the height perhaps most characteristic of 
London, though now it is supported by another and a noble 
neighbour — the magnificent Tower Bridge. Together with 
the gilt tipped Monument they mark the ancient City 
whose suburbs radiate around for miles and miles to the 
misty rims of its gigantic cup. And surely there is no 
other ^^ cup " in the world so full of human joy and suffer- 
ing, so crowded with business, pleasure, and ceaseless 
activities as this marvellous and fascinating place which we 
call London. 



WHAT a natural habit it is to personate into 
living and even into human form some in- 
animate object or structure with which one 
has become familiar and which is dear ! No wonder that 
in the days of the Dryads people gave life and character 
and human sympathies to every tree and fountain and river 
which they had long known and which they loved. We 
nearly all find ourselves doing much the same sort 
of thing with buildings which we have long known, 
and which have grown to be in a certain sense a part 
of our existence. I always thus endow St. Paul's Cathe- 
dral with life and human nature and sympathy. I can- 
not well explain what early associations and chances 
have made St. Paul's a more living influence to me than the 
much grander and nobler Westminster Abbey ; but so it is, 
and I feel as if St. Paul's were a living influence over all 
that r^ion of the metropolis which is surveyed by its ball and 
its cross. But in another sense it is unlike other buildings 
to me. It is not one long-lived, long living cathedral ; it is 
rather a generation of cathedrals. Westminster Abbey takes 
us back in unbroken continuity of history to the earlier 
days of England's budding greatness. Westminster itself, 
nevertheless, was only called so in the beginning to distin- 
guish it from the earlier East Minster, which was either the 
existing St. Paul's or a cathedral standing on Tower Hill. 
It would seem, then, that St. Paul's rather than West- 


1 14 LONDON 

minster Abbey ought to represent the gradual movement 
of English histoiy and English thought, and the growth of 
the metropolis. But observe the difference. Westminster 
Abbey has always, since its erection in the old days about 
the time when Pan was definitely giving up the use of his 
Pagan horn, been sedately watching over London. It has 
been reconstructed here and there, of course — ^repaired and 
renovated, touched up and decorated with new adornments 
in tribute of grateful piety ; but it b ever and always the 
same Westminster Abbey. Now observe the history of St. 
Paul's. St. Paul's has fallen and died time after time, and 
been revived and restored. It has risen new upon new 
generations. It has perished in flame again and again, like 
a succession of martyrs, and has come up afresh and with 
new-spangled ore flamed in the forehead of the morning 
sky. St. Paul's is a religious or ecclesiastical dynasty 
rather than a cathedral. It has been destroyed so often, 
and has risen again in so many difierent shapes, that it 
seems as if each succeeding age were putting its fresh 
stamp and mint-mark on it, and so commending it to the 
special service of each new generation. One cannot but 
think that — let its authorities, its Dean and Chapter, and 
the rest, take all the best and most devoted care they can 
of it — St. Paul's is not destined to hold its present shape 
for a very long stretch of time. I do not desire my words 
to be like the story of the watchful and warned parent 
which is found in all literatures from ^sop and the Arabian 
Nights downwards — ^the story of the father who is warned 
that an early death is impending over his dear and only son, 
and who locks the boy for greater security into a lofty 
tower or into a subterranean cavern — ^the tale is told in dif- 
ferent ways — and behold it is all of no use, for the very 
precautions taken to save the lad only tend to his earlier and 


r.N. -^ -" \ 

ST. PAUL'S 115 

surer destruction. It may be thus with the Cathedral of 
St. Paul's. ... I keep thinking of the past, and 1 
cannot help murmuring to myself that the mission of St. 
Paul's is, as I have said, to be a succession or dynasty of 
cathedrals, and not to be one perennial structure with time- 
proof and fire-proof walls and an unbroken history. 

This birth and re-birth give, to my thinking, an entirely 
peculiar interest to St. Paul's Cathedral. Think what its 
different generations could have told to all around ! An- 
other great church — ^Westminster Abbey, for example — 
grows up amid growing history, and is a part of its gradual 
movement, and so does not notice it. Each day makes its 
slight and almost imperceptible change, and the Cathedral 
changes with the day, and is all unconscidus of it. West- 
minster Abbey could not tell how Roman dominion gradu- 
ally faded, how Saxon gave place to Norman, and Tudor 
followed Plantagenet, and Stuart came to reign and to fade, 
and a new dynasty galloped in on the white horse of Han- 
over. One can imagine Westminster Abbey confusing new 
pageantry with old, the impression of yesterday with that 
of Mr. Henry M. Stanley. But St. Paul's, as we see it, 
was re-born into a world quite new to it only two centuries 
ago. It then came into new being with a quick re-bom 
consciousness, taking fresh and eager notice of everything 
it saw. Above all, it could see and take account of change. 
^^See here — and here — that was not so when I looked oh 
this earth before ! What has gone with this or that place, 
■ this or that dynasty, which I remember stout and flourish- 
ing only a hundred years ago or thereabouts ? " Each re- 
vival means a new Hegira, a new point of comparison, a 
new standard of excellence, a new ifispiration of sympathy ; 
it may be a regret for the past, it may be a hope for the 
future. Thus St. Paul's has re-steeped, renewed again and 


again, its sentiments of companionship with humanity. 
St. Paul's is always young, that is, comparatively young — 
two centuries back to the last birth — ^that after the Great 
Fire ^ then another stretch to the former destruction and 
regeneration, and then back to another and another, until 
the first St. Paul's stands up in the raw dawn of London's 
history — always young and yet enriched with the traditions, 
and much more than the traditions, the actual experiences, 
of centuries on centuries. This Cathedral, this generation 
of cathedrals, ought to be able to teach us lessons such as 
no other English church with a monotony of antiquity 
could well suggest. 

That was a strange period of English history when the 
former St. Paul's Cathedral went into ashes amid the Great 
Fire of London. We can see that time through the eyes 
of two keen and shrewd observers, and never in the world 
were two contemporaneous observers less like to each 

Was there ever known in the history of the world and 
its churches any cathedral which suffered from fire like St. 
Paul's ? The whole career of the church was an ordeal 
by fire. It was injured by fire a hundred years before 
Westminster Hall was built; it was totally destroyed by 
fire in the Eleventh Century, and it took nearly two centu- 
ries to restore it to anything like its former magnificence. 
^^ Away ! we lose ourselves in light," might have been its 
motto, for it was all but completely destroyed by fire in the 
Fifteenth Century, and its spire, which was then claimed to 
be the highest in the world, was destroyed by fire a century 
later. Thus, we have brought it to the terrible days of 
1666, when it went under with so much of London to ac- 
company it — one of the most tremendous conflagrations 
recorded in the history of great cities. Then came the 






ST. PAUL'S 117 

. , Commission to rebuild it, of which brave John Evelyn was 
a member, and then Sir Christopher Wren raised the monu» 

1^ ment to his fame, which those who would question his re* 
nown have only to look upon and be satisfied. The great 
architect sleeps within the shelter of the Cathedral which 
he raised up out of dust and ashes, and never was simpler, 
nobler, or juster epitaph inscribed on the tomb of man than 
that which commends his remains to the reverence of the 

^ world. The Great Fire of 1666 was but an accident in 
the architectural career of Sir Christopher Wren. He had 
in any case been appointed, long before the fire, one of the 
Commission to consider and report upon the entire rebuild- 
ing of the Cathedral, which had been put together in a 
patchy sort of way, one man's notion of architectural 
beauty and fitness overriding rather than supplementing 
another. For a long time it had been resolved to obtain 
symmetry, cohesion, and consistency in the building, and 
it had at length begun to make itself manifest that such 
an object could only be obtained by the pulling down of 
the old structure, and the erection of a new cathedral which 
should be designed . by the intellect and the imagination of 
one man, the creation of one exalted intellect. But the 
scheme got pushed aside by one interference and another. 
Politics interfered; hostility and rival schemes interfered ; 
mere delay and vague postponement interfered; and it 
seemed likely that nothing would be done. The Great 
Fire came to the rescue and ordained that something should 
be done. Even then Wren did not have it all his own 
way — what man of genius ever had whose lot it was to be 
controlled by what is called the practical mind ? For ex- 
ample. Wren's idea was to adopt a principle such as that 
which I spoke of lately as having become an aspiration in 
the mind of a friend of mine — the principle that St. Paul's 






should stand in clear isolation, and be seen along the river 
from its dome to its base. It was in the mind of Wren 
that this should be accomplished by making a long line 
of stately quays to border the Thames — by anticipating, 
in fact, and carrying out farther down the stream the idea 
of the Tliames Embankment. But Wren was not allowed 
to put this plan into action. Houses, warehouses, and 
wharves were permitted to crowd anyway they would 
around the base of the Cathedral, and St. Paul's stood as 
we see it standing now^-or rather it stood then and stands 
now as nobody can see it, except in glimpses and portions 
and instalments. Still, we may, if we will, make some 
poetic association even out of its present eclipsed and oc» 
culted condition to add to that consideration which I have 
already ofFered, that the neglect and error of past genera- 
tions has left St. Paul's to have its base in the very 
heart of the City's life. Is it not also like some vast and 
stately tree, some great cedar, some lofty palm, some ma- 
jestic outgrowth of a Sacramento forest, which lifts its head 
and spreads its broad branches away in the clear upper air, 
and has the lowly brushwood, and the green mosses, and 
the wild flowers, and the poor, lowly, common weeds 
around its base ? 

The night comes, and St. Paul's is alone. All that part 
of the City which approaches it and environs it, is now 
without movement and life. No lights bum along Ludgate 
Hill. The statue of Queen Anne peers down that way 
into darkness. No windows gleam in Cheapside. Bow 
Bells chime out after midnight to mere solitude. There is 
something particularly melancholy, inane, and futile, in the 
thought of a bell pealing out its notes without even the 
chance to awaken sleeping ears. No one lives in that part 
of the City. That part of the City has gone home to bed. 

ST. PAUL'S 119 

It has gone to bed in Park Lane, and Piccadilly and Bel- 
grave Square and Eaton Square ; in Norwood and Hamp- 
stead and Clapham -, in Wood Green and Brondesbuiy j in 
Bethnal Green and Stratford-atte-Bow ; down along the line 
of docks ; anywhere : that City population takes in all the 
ranks and classes of life. Tlie Asmodeus who could study 
all the sleeping accommodations of all the City folk who fly 
the neighbourhood of St. Paul's after dark, would have rare 
opportunity for easy satire over the social diversities of 
condition in London. Supposing he were a good-natured 
demon, admitting in him a certain sympathy for man's 
distracted condition between tempting possibilities and 
cramping limitations, what would be the outcome of his 
survey, despondency or hope ? 

Anyhow, the space around St. Paul's is silent, clear, and 
lonely. The living have gone. Then, perhaps, do the 
dead come back and take their old places ? Does a Res- 
toration crowd stream round the base of the Cathedral 
and admire it as it has risen from its ruins ? Does Nell 
Gwynn come smirking there ? and do Evelyn and Pepys 
arrive arm-in-arm ? Grim Prince Rupert, turned chemist 
and chemical toy-maker in his older days, the time quite 
gone when he could win his half of any battle, is he there ? 
Has that greatest man of his day, surpassing man of any 
day, come from his ship-carpenter work on Tower Hill, 
and from his drinks of brandy with pepper in it — has Peter 
the Czar of Russia, Peter the Great, wandered westward 
to look up to the dome of St. Paul's ? It would be curious 
to think whether this revisiting of the glimpses of the moon 
around St. Paul's is limited or not to the company of those 
who saw the latest resurrection of the Cathedral, or 
whether the spectres from all time or nearly so, going back 
to the days of Roman sentinels, may appear of nights on 


Ludgate Hill, and do honour to the latest edition of St. 
Paul's. On that question I can venture no opinion. But 
I am firm in the conviction that the Cathedral is never left 
quite alone. The living surround it in the day ; the dead 
are free of it in the night. The Monument is the con- 
temporary of its latest birth, Westminster Abbey is too 
young to have been the contemporary of its first appearance 
on its eastern hill. 



THE modem passenger through 9t. Paul's Church- 
yard has not only the last home of Nelson and 
others to venerate, as he goes by. In the ground 
of the old church were buried, and here, therefore remains 
whatever dust may survive them, the gallant Sir Phillip 
Sydney (the beau ideal of the age of Elizabeth), and 
Vandyke, who immortalized the youth and beauty of the 
court of Charles the First. One of Elizabeth's great 
statesmen also lay there — Walsingham — who died so poor, 
that he was buried by stealth to prevent his body from being 
arrested. Another, Sir Christopher Hatton, who is sup- 
posed to have danced himself into the oiEce of her 
Majesty's Chancellor, had a tomb which his contemporaries 
thought too magnificent, and which was accused of 
" shouldering " the altar. 

Old St. Paul's was much larger than now, and the 
churchyard was of proportionate dimensions. The wall 
by which it was bounded ran along by the present streets 
of Ave Maria Lane, Paternoster Row, Old Change, Carter 
Lane, and Creed Lane; and therefore included a lai]ge 
space and many buildings which are not now considered to 
be within the precincts of the Cathedral. This spacious 
area had grass inside, and contained a variety of appendages 
to the establishment. One of these was the cross of which 
Stow did not know the antiquity. It was called Paul's 

Cross, and stood on the north side of the church, a little 



to the east of the entrance of Cannon Alley. It was 
around Paul's Cross, or rather in the space to the east of it 
that the citizens were wont anciently to assemble in 
Folkmote or general convention — not only to elect their 
magistrates and to deliberate on public affairs, but also, as 
would appear, to try offenders and award punishments. 
We read of meetings of the Folkmote in the Thirteenth 
Century ; but the custom was discontinued, as the increas- 
ing number of the inhabitants, and the mixture of strangers, 
were found to lead to confusion and tumult. In after 
times the cross appears to have been used chiefly for proc- 
lamations, and other public proceedings, civil as well as 
ecclesiastical; such as the swearing of the citizens to 
allegiance, the emission of papal bulls, the exposing of 
penitents, etc., ^^and for the defaming of those," says 
Pennant, ^^ who had incurred the displeasure of crowned 
heads." A pulpit was attached to it, it was not known 
when, in which sermons were preached, called Paul's Cross 
Sermons, a name by which they continued to be known 
when they ceased in the open air. Many benefactors con- 
tributed to support these sermons. In Stow's time the 
pulpit was an hexagonal piece of wood, ^^ covered with 
lead, elevated upon a flight of stone steps, and surmounted 
by a large cross." 

The neighbourhood of St. Paul's retains a variety of ap- 
pellations indicative of its former connection with the 
church. There is Creed Lane, Ave-Maria Lane, Sermon 
Lane, Canon Alley, Pater-Noster Row, Holiday Court, 
Amen Corner, etc. Members of the Cathedral establish- 
ment still have abodes in some of these places, particularly 
in Amen Corner, which is enclosed with gates, and ap- 
propriated to the houses of prebendaries and canons. 
Close to Sermon Lane is Do-little Lane -, a vicinity which 


must have furnished jokes to the Puritans. Addle Street is 
an ungrateful corruption of Athelstan Street, so called from 
one of the most respectable of the Saxon Kings, who had 
a palace in it. 

St. Paul's Churchyard appears as if it were only a great 
commercial thoroughfare ; but if all the clergy could be 
seen at once, who have abodes in the neighbourhood, they 
would be found to constitute a numerous body. If to the 
sable coats of these gentlemen be added those of the 
practisers of the civil law, who were formerly allied to 
them, and who live in Doctors' Commons, the Churchyard 
increases the clerkly part of its aspect. It resumes to the 
imagination, something of the learned and collegiate look it 
had of old. Paternoster Row is said to have been so 
called on account of the number of Stationers or Text- 
writers that dwelt there, who dealt much in religious books 
and sold horn-books, or A. B. C.'s, with the Paternoster, 
Ave-Maria, Creed, Graces, etc. And so of the other 
places above-named. But it is more likely that this par- 
ticular street (as indeed we are told) was named from the 
rosary or paternoster-makers ; for so they were called, as 
appears by a record of ^^ one Robert Nikke, a pater-noster 
maker and citizen, in the reign of Henry the Fourth." 

It is curious to reflect what a change has taken place in 
this celebrated book-street^ since nothing was sold there but 
rosaries. It is but rarely the word Paternoster-Row strikes 
us as having a reference to the Latin Prayer. We think of 
booksellers' shops, and of all the learning and knowledge 
they have sent forth. The books of Luther, which Henry 
the Eighth burnt in the neighbouring churchyard, were 
turned into millions of volumes, partly by reason of that 

Paternoster-Row, however, has not been exclusively in 

1 24 LONDON 

possession of the booksellers, since it lost its original 
tenants, the rosary-makers. Indeed it would appear to have 
been only in comparatively recent times that the booksellers 
fixed themselves there. They had for a long while been 
established in St. Paul's Churchyard, but scarcely in the 
Row, till after the commencement of the last century. 



TO comfort the desponding parent with the thought 
that, without diminishing the stock which is im- 
periously demanded to furnish the more pressing 
and homely wants of nature, he has disposed of one or 
more of a numerous offspring, under the shelter of a care 
scarce less tender than the paternal, where not only their 
bodily cravings shall be supplied, but that mental pabulum 
is also dispensed, which He hath declared to be no less 
necessary to our sustenance who said that ^^ man shall not 
live by bread alone " : for this Christ's Hospital unfolds her 
bounty. Here, neither on the one hand are the youth 
lifted up above their family, which we must suppose liberal, 
though reduced ; nor on the one hand are they liable to be 
depressed below its level by the mean habits and sentiments 
which a common school generates. It is, in a word, an 
Institution to keep those who have yet held up their heads 
in the world from sinking ; to keep alive the spirit of a 
decent household, when poverty was in danger of crushing 
it ; to assist those who are the most willing, but not always 
the most able, to assist themselves ; to separate a child from 
his family for a season, in order to render him back here- 
after with feelings and habits more congenial to it than he 
could even have attained by remaining at home in the bosom 
of it. It is a preserving and renovating principle, an anti- 
dote for the res angusta domi^ when it presses, as it always 
does, most heavily upon the most ingenuous natures. 

This is Christ's Hospital ; and whether its character 



would be improved by confining its advantages to the veiy 
lowest of the people, let those judge who have witnessed 
the looks, the gestures, the behaviour, the manner of their 
play with one another, their deportment towards strangers, 
the whole aspect and physiognomy of that vast assemblage 
of boys on the London foundation, who freshen and make 
alive again with their sports the else mouldering cloisters 
of the old Grey Friars, which strangers who have never 
witnessed them, if they pass through Newgate Street or by 
Smithfield, would do well to go a little out of their way to sec. 
For the Christ's Hospital boy feels that he is no charity 
boy : he feels it in the antiquity and regality of the foun- 
dation to which he belongs ; in the usage which he meets 
with at school, and the treatment he is accustomed to out 
of its bounds ; in the respect and even kindness which his 
well-known garb never fails to procure him in the streets 
of the metropolis ; he feels it in his education, in that 
measure of classical attainments, which every individual at 
that school, though not destined to a learned profession, has 
it in his power to procure : attainments which it would be 
worse than folly to put it in the reach of the labouring 
classes to acquire ; he feels it in the numberless comforts, 
and even magnificences, which surround him ; in his old 
and awful cloisters, with their traditions ; in his spacious 
school-rooms, and in the well-ordered, airy, and lofty rooms 
where he sleeps; in his stately dining-hall, hung round 
with pictures, by Verrio, Lely, and others, one of them sur- 
passing in size and grandeur almost any other in the king- 
dom ', ^ above all, in the very extent and magnitude of the 

1 By Verrio representing James the Second on bis throne, surrounded 
by bis courtiers (all curious portraits) receiving the mathematical pupils 
at their sumual presentation; a curious custom still kept up on New 
Year's Day at Court 

« \ 

.-^ . '^ i ■ ' 

-^um. •-lr.N'-"'< * 

•,. -^CN l-OONO*''' '-' 


body to which he belongs, and the consequent spirit, the 
intelligence, and public conscience, which is the result of 
so many various yet wonderfully combined members. 
Compared with the last-named advantage, what is the stock 
of information, (I do not here speak of book-learning, but 
of that knowledge which boy receives from boy,) the mass 
of collected opinions, the intelKgence in common, among 
the few and narrow members of an ordinary boarding- 
school ? 

The Christ's Hospital or Blue-coat Boy has a distinctive 
character of his own, as far removed from the abject qual- 
ities of a common charity boy as it is from the disgusting 
forwardness of a lad brought up at some other of the public 
schools. There is pricU in it, accumulated from the cir- 
cumstances which I have described, as differencing him 
from the former \ and there is a restraining modesty from a 
sense of obligation and dependence, which must ever keep 
his deportment from assimilating to that of the latter. His 
very garb, as it is antique and venerable, feeds his self-re- 
spect ; as it is a badge of dependence, it restrains the natural 
petulance of that age from breaking out into overt acts of 
insolence. This produces silence and a reserve before 
strangers, yet not that cowardly shyness which boys mewed 
up at home will feel \ he will speak up when spoken to, but 
the stranger must begin the conversation with him. Within 
his bounds he is all fire and play ; but in the streets he steals 
along with all the self-concentration of a young monk. 
He is never known to mix with other boys ; they are a 
sort of laity to him. AU this proceeds, I have no doubt, 
from the continual consciousness which he carries about 
him of the difference of his dress from that of the rest of 
the world ; with a modest jealousy over himself, lest, by 
over-hastily mixing with comm9n and secular play-fellows. 


he should commit the dignity of his cloth. Nor let any* 
one laugh at this ; for, considering the propensity of the 
multitude, and especially of the small multitude, to ridicule 
anything unusual in dress — ^above all, where such peculiarity 
may be construed by malice into a mark of dispan^ment 
— ^this reserve will appear to be nothing more than a wise 
instinct in the Blue-coat Boy. That it is neither pride nor 
rusticity, at least that it has none of the offensive qualities 
of either, a stranger may soon satisfy himself by putting a 
question to any of these boys ; he may be sure of an answer 
couched in terms of plain civility, neither loquacious nor 
embarrassed. Let him put the same question to a parish 

boy, or to one of the trencher-caps in the cloisters, and 

the impudent reply of the one shall not fail to exasperate 
any more than the certain servility and mercenary eye to 
reward which he will meet with in the other can fail to 
depress and sadden him. 

The Christ's Hospital boy is a religious character. His 
school is eminently a religious foundation : it has its peculiar 
prayers, its services at set times, its graces, hymns, and 
anthems, following each other in an almost monastic close- 
ness of succession. This religious character in him is not 
always untinged with superstition. That is not wonderful, 
when we consider the thousand tales and traditions which 
must circulate, with undisturbed credulity, amongst so many 
boys, that have so few checks to their belief from any in- 
tercourse with the world at laige ; upon whom their equals 
in age must work so much, their elders so little. With 
this leaning towards an overbelief in matters of religion, 
which will soon correct itself when he comes out into so- 
ciety, may be classed a turn for romance above most other 
boys. This is to be traced in the same manner to their 
excess of society with each other, and defect of mingling 


with the world. Hence the peculiar avidity with which 
such books as the Arabian Nights* EntertainnuntSy and 
others of a still wilder cast, are, or at least were in my 
time, sought for by the boys. I remember when some half- 
dozen of them set off from school, without map, card, or 
compass, on a serious expedition to find out Philip ^arlFs 

The time would fail me if I were to attempt to enumer- 
ate all those circumstances, some pleasant, some attended 
with pain, which, seen through the mist of distance, come 
sweetly softened to the memory. But I must crave leave 
to remember our transcending superiority in those invigora- 
ting sports, leap-frog, and baiting the bear ; our delightful 
excursions in the summer holidays to the New River, near 
Newington, where, like others, we would live the long day 
in the water, never caring for dressing ourselves, when we 
had once stripped ; our savory meals afterwards, when we 
went home almost famished with staying out all day with- 
out our dinners ; our visits at other times to the Tower, 
where, by ancient privilege, we had free access to all the 
curiosities; our solemn processions through the City at 
Easter, with the Lord Mayor's largesse of buns, wine, and a 
shilling, with the festive questions and civic pleasantries of 
the dispensing Alderman, which were more to us than all 
the rest of the banquet; our stately suppings in public, 
where the well-lighted hall, and the confluence of well- 
dressed company who came to see us, made the whole look 
more like a concert or assembly than a scene of a plain 
bread and cheese collation ; the annual orations upon St. 
Matthew's Day, in which the senior scholar, before be had 
done, seldom failed to reckon up among those who had 
done honour to our school by being educated in it, the 
names of those accomplished critics and Greek scholars. 


Joshua Barnes and Jeremiah Markland. (I marvel they left 
out Camden while they were about it.) Let me have leave 
to remember our hymns and anthems, and well-toned 
organ ; the doleful tune of the burial anthem chanted in the 
solemn cloisters, upon the seldom-occurring funeral of 
some school-fellow ; the festivities at Christmas, when the 
richest of us would club our stock to have a gaudy day, 
sitting round the fire, replenished to the height with logs ; 
and the penniless, and he that could contribute nothing, 
partook in all the mirth, and in some of the substantialities 
of the feasting ; the carol sung by night at that time of the 
year, which, when a young boy, I have so often lain awake 
to hear from seven (the hour of going to bed) tiU ten, when 
it was sung by the older boys and monitors, and have 
listened to it, in their rude chanting, till I have been trans- 
ported in fancy to the fields of Bethlehem, and the song 
which was sung at that season by angels' voices to the 

Nor would I willingly forget any of those things which 
administered to our vanity. The hemstitched bands and 
town-made shirts, which some of the most fashionable 
among us wore; the town-girdles, with buckles of silver, 
or shining-stone ; the badges of the sea-boys ; the cots, or 
superior shoe-strings, of the monitors ; the medals of the 
markers, (those who were appointed to hear the Bible read 
in the wards on Sunday morning and evening,) wKich bore 
on their obverse in silver, as certain parts of our garments 
carried, in meaner metal, the countenance of our Founder, 
that godly and royal child. King Edward the Sixth, the 
flower of the Tudor name, — ^the young flower that was un- 
timely cropt, as it began to fill our land with its earthly 
odours, — ^thc boy-patron of boys, — ^the serious and holy 
child who walked with Cranmer and Ridley s fit associate. 


in those tender years^ for bishops and future martyrs of our 
Church, to receive, or (as occasion sometimes proved) to 
give instruction. 

cnr WALKS 


THE charm of exploring the City is ever novel — to 
me at least. Not every one has thoroughly fallen 
lender the spell; for an occasional visit is not 
enough. One should linger and come again and explore, 
and be led hither and thither by the humour and attraction 
of the moment. At the different seasons of the day, morn- 
ing, noon, and evening — nay, on the Sunday even, when it 
becomes an astounding wilderness — it offers quite different 
aspects, and a succession of surprises. It is in truth an- 
other city, another people, we can never get rid of the 
notion that we are entering a foreign town. Often has 
been described the aspect of the overwhelming tide of busy 
men, all hurrying and crowding and pushing past at a brisk 
speed \ the carriages, waggons, carts, incessantly moving in 
a crowded procession; the hum and roar in the ears. 
The vast size, solidity, and imposing stateliness of the 
buildings astonish us. But more pleasing is the picturesque 
irregularity, and windings and curves of the bye-streets or 
alleys, changed by the tall and massive structures which 
line them into Genoa-like streets, lacking only the grilles 
and the gloom. Here is the contrast to the West End ; 
and here is seen the different spirit which animates the 
merchant, as compared with the smaller trader. His ideas 
are magnificent : he must have his trading palace and ware- 
houses beetling, lofty, and of granite or Portland v stone, a 


» s ; J > 

• fl N .. • A 

\ f . 


great arch or portal for the entrance ; a sort of City archi- 
tecture has been engendered specially to meet his wants. 

Most *' West-Enders " rarely travel beyond the Ex- 
change and the banking streets adjoining. But until Corn- 
hill is passed, this peculiar aspect we have been describing 
is not met with. It is when we reach Mincing Lane, and 
Mark Lane, and Leadenhall, and Fenchurch Street, that we 
come upon these grand and endless ranges of business 
palaces. Sometimes as in the case of Fenchurch Court, 
the greater thoroughfares are joined by a long paved foot- 
way, lined with these vast storied buildings. It seems a bit 
of Brussels city ; the office windows, it may be, looking out 
upon a small patch of churchyard, allowed to linger on in a 
grudging way. This irregularity is often as surprising as it 
is picturesque ; witness that fine, massively pillared door- 
way, last fragment of some noble mansion, which is the 
entrance to a descending covered way, leading first to a 
tavern and thence into Leadenhall Street. It is in these im- 
posing alleys that we come upon some coventual-looking 
City Hall, its great gates closed, its windows forlorn-look- 
ing, and barred like some disused monastery. 

A fine imposing view, which gives the best idea of the 
state and magnificence of the Great City is to be found as a 
spot exactly in front of the Mansion House. From here 
no less than eight distinct vistas are to be obtained along 
nine distinct streets and alleys, each exhibiting something 
worthy of admiration and the whole offering contrast and 
variety. Add to this the tide of life running at its strongest, 
and the busiest ^^ hum of men " conceivable. In front is 
the Mansion House itself, a heavy pile of little pretension 
or merit. Beside it, a short street is terminated by the 
quaint spire of St. Stephen's, Walbrook, which contrasts 
with the rude stonework of the church itself, and is con- 


sidered a gem in the way of church building, and held by 
Wren himself to be his masterpiece. Next stretches away 
the comparatively new Queen Victoria Street, with its rows 
and blocks of stone mansions, the huge pile of the National 
Safe Deposit Company being conspicuous. Near to it 
opens up the busy Cheapside, with the stately and original 
Bow Church half-way down, projecting its friendly clock 
face over the street. " Within the sound of Bow Bells " 
is a familiar City phrase, but I confess I have never heard 
the sound, though most have heard Sir J. Bennett's odd 
chimes over his shop. Next, at right angles almost, comes 
Princes Street, with a church at the end, and some bank- 
ing-houses built in the curious Soane style. Then interposes 
the Bank of England itself — z not unpicturesque structure 
considering its straggling shape. Then Threadneedle 
Street, with its vista of almost Genoese buildings, mostly 
banks— gloomy and massive, and straying from the level 
line with picturesque irregularity. Between it and Com* 
hill rises the Royal Exchange, with its ambitious imposing 
portico of many pillars, commanding all issues. Half-way 
down CornhiU, rising with a charming irregularity, is the 
showy tower of St. Michael's. Next to the right is Lom- 
bard Street, with more dungeon-like banking-houses, while 
between this and the next house stands the very unique 
and much admired church of St. Mary Woolnoth, set off 
by a luxuriant tree which projects its leafy branches over 
the road. Next comes King WiUiam Street, with glimpses 
of the ^tall bully,'' the Monument, and at the end the 
Sailor King's statue. And so the circle is complete. Let 
any one stand on the central ^ refuge," as we have been 
doing, and turning, survey deliberately each issue, and he 
will feel surprised to find how much he has habitually over- 
looked, and how much there is to admire. 


But the stranger who would gather the most impressive 
notion of the grandeur of the City should pause at Fen- 
church Street, before entering Cornhill. Here the crowd, 
the block, the hum, the roar, even the crowd pushing on, 
and the state and solemnity of the buildings and streets 
will most affect him. Here are the darkened streets of the 
great banks — some carrying on their business in huge palaces 
where the street is so narrow that the lamps have to be lit ; 
others preferring to retain the old-fashioned structures. 
There is one very striking building at the comer of Throg- 
morton Street — ^The National Provincial Bank of England, 
monumental almost, and of really good architecture, dis- 
playing a row of statues on the top. Another building of 
great state and pretension is the Consolidated Bank, in 
Threadneedle Street. '''Through all the doors are press- 
ing and pouring in a stream of persons, all in a hurry. 
Every place — ^telegraphic, shipping exchanges, etc., — seems 
crowded to overflowing. Business is everywhere. 

•Perhaps the grandest and stateliest of all these City streets 
is Lombard Street, not from its associations merely, but 
from the imposing character of its mercantile palaces. As 
we enter from Threadneedle Street end there is quite 
an air of magnificence in the massive, richly-wrought 
buildings which line both sides of the narrow winding way 
in a sharp curve. The great pile at the corner, where the 
^ Credit Lyonnais " carries on its business, has a stately 

A picturesque incident of the City streets is the recur- 
rence of lanes of warehouses striking out of the busy high- 
way, and which, all narrow, and lined by lofty warehouses, 
wind down, where they can to the river. These alleys, not 
so long since, could be found in one long, uninterrupted 
course from the Strand to Wapping, but the Embankment 


has cut off the earlier series. In the City nothing is so 
genuine or so truly mercanttl€ as these not unpicturesque 
little descents, with their cranes, lofts and waggons waiting 
below. One of these vistas, which suggests a scene in a 
foreign city, is the view down Fish Street Hill, the Monu* 
ment rising on the left, the bottom closed by the imposing 
effective church of St. Magnus and its elegant steeple. A 
fine old tree blooms beside it. Hard by is the steep and 
gloomy St. Botolph's Lane, filled with its venerable and 
busy warehouses, eveiy floor having its crane. There is 
something pleasing in this old-fashioned shape of trade, 
and the whole suggests the traditional view of the London 
merchant and his business. 

In some November evening, when the air is fresh and 
cool and dear, and there is a dark gloaming over the whole 
city, it is pleasant to go down to the Embankment and em- 
bark in one of the swift river steamers bound for the City. 
How inspiring is the evening air ! The river is lined with 
lights, and seems twice its ordinary size. Landing at Lon- 
don Bridge, we take our way up one of the narrow wind^ 
ing warehouse-lined streets, which lead up to the busy msun 
thoroughfares. Nothing is more poetical than the church 
towers which rise in these lanes : one in Martin's Lane, 
whose church has been removed, looks, with its projecting 
clock-dial, like a perfect Italian campanile. There are 
glimpses of shadowy gardens and inclosures, such as that 
on Laurence Pountney Hill, which might be a patch of 
some foreign town. On one side of Cannon Street the 
windings of the lanes are singularly picturesque either by 
night or day, and the newer, later buildings, fall in har- 
moniously. This is owing to the irregular shape of the 

Few views could be found more suited for the etcher 


than the one to be seen as we look down College Hill. On 
the left are the two richly-carved monumental gates, side by 
side, leading into the courts of what is supposed to have 
been Whittington's bouse. Higher up is a modem, red- 
brick, not ineffective building, of a gorgeous pattern. The 
eye is then led down to the bottom of the steep and wind- 
ing lane, which seems closed by the elegant steeple of a 
church in wrought clean grey stone, so high and airy in its 
treatment as to recall the charming old Town Hall at 
Calais. From its side is projected the well-gilt clock-face, 
richly glowing on a well-carved bracket. 

In truth there is this perpetual charm and flavour in the 
old City which few are aware of — a sort of antique air 
which recalls old Flemish cities. The flagged square be- 
hind the Exchange seems like a mart — ^the busy hum, the 
perpetual headlong va-et-^ient^ the general bustle and bright- 
ness, are all suggestive, and the bye-streets, such as the old 
Thames Street, that skirts the river, the oddly-named Gar- 
lick Hall, and others, have all a strange, foreign effect, being 
narrow lanes, yet having fine old churches and towers rising 
to a great height. The infinite variety of these Wren 
steeples is well known, and there is a curious effect in the 
reflection that, alone and deserted and useless as they ap- 
pear, crowded into dark comers, so that even with the 
utmost '^ craning back," you can scarcely see to the top, 
they still produce their effect for the world at a distance, 
and are seen rising gracefully from afar off — from river, 
rail, and bridge — producing a solenm and imposing effect. 
A pleasant and almost poetical contrast can be fumished by 
viewing one of the busiest of City streets under different 
conditions \ much as in a Diorama we are shown the same 
view by day or by night. If at the busiest hour of the day 
we descend from London Bridge into Thames Street, which 


passes under one of its arches, we shall see a curious speci- 
men of antiquated trade, and very much what might have 
been noted a hundred years ago. The side next the river 
is lined with wharves and rather tottering warehouses, while 
innumerable steamers, crowded together in apparent con- 
fusion are dischai^ging their cai^goes of fruit and vegetables, 
principally oranges, lemons, onions, currants, etc. The air 
is heavy with the odours of these articles, intermingled with 
that of dried and fresh fruit, stores of which line the other 
side of the street. An enormous army of porters are en- 
gaged in carrying these wares from the vessels, and they are 
borne on peculiarly-constructed cushions which rest on 
their heads and shoulders. Ther^ is thus a perpetual pro- 
cession ; while the street is blocked up by waggons loading 
and unloading, and in the air the cases are seen swinging 
and ascending to the different lofts. Further on we come 
to Billingsgate, where the fish is discharged, with a con- 
fusion of its own, which however is more apparent than 
real. This scene is really extraordinary, and is a survival ; 
for all this work should surely be carried on at the docks* 
and not in a thoroughfare. 

But would we see the strangest of contrasts — ^we need 
only visit this street on a Sunday in the winter time, be- 
tween five and six o'clock. Then it seems literally a Street 
of the Dead. We have often walked from end to end al- 
most without meeting a single person. The silence is 
oppressive: instead of the former Babel of shoutings, 
clatter of carts and confusion, every house and shop and 
warehouse is fast closed and deserted as if it were Plague- 
time. The lamps flicker feebly, and we might without 
stretch of imagination conceive it was now the middle of 
the night. Heavy shadows hang over the comers. The 
church towers loom out at the comers of the ascending 


alleys ; but the doors are closed and the bells are silent. 
We hear the sound of foot-falls echoing loudly as some one 
draws near — a solitary policeman, who continues his patrol 
sadly. We are separated by but a row of houses from the 
great river, but that highway is really silent. The steamers 
are at rest. The lamplight here and there flashes feebly on 
the names of the great dealers and middle-men set up over 
their mean and tottering shops, where thousands of pounds 
are *^ turned over " in a day. Billingsgate is fast closed, 
not an oath nor a word of its famous vocabulary is in the 
air. This air of solitude and desertion is one of the most 
extraordinary sensations associated with the City, and the 
impression is worth experiencing. We ascend by one of 
the alleys, and come once more into something like life and 
motion and see the clattering cabs and omnibuses hurry- 
ing by. 

Again, what can be better than the view as you walk to- 
wards Cripplegate, through winding streets, and begin to 
see the old, gaunt, quaint, weather-beaten tower of St. 
Giles's Church rising above the houses ? There is nothing 
in London better than this solemn tower, formed of old 
stones half the way up, the other half of grimed caked 
brick, the whole surmounted by an odd and quaint belfry. 
We might think we were in some Belgian town. Then, 
the old churchyard behind, with the path winding round by 
a short cut to other streets ; the old wooden houses that 
adjoin it, overhanging the street, and that seem ^' caked " 
to it 'y and, finally, the strange doorway of the church, 
decorated with its significant supporters — a skull on one 
side and an hour-glass on the other — wrought in the spir- 
ited fashion of Cibber. 

In the City there are many strange places like this, with 
narrow winding streets and antique names. Of a bright. 


sunshiny day, for instance, there is one portion which is 
pictur^ue, animated to a degree, and worthy of a painter. 
Standing in the street and looking down towards the Monu- 
ment and the point where King William and other streets 
converge towards London Bridge, the buildings and ware- 
houses and churches all rise and cross each other at various 
angles, catching the light in different ways. There is the 
statue, such as it is ; the elegant steeple of the church in 
Thames Street; the glimpse of the bridge and the river; 
the enormous busy traffic; and the effective Monument 
itself. Then going on, we look down on the picturesque 
Thames Street, passing under the arch, and which is as it 
might have looked two centuries ago. Here is the pictur- 
esqueness of trade. The London merchants and their men 
thus carried on business centuries ago. Then the river 
itself, ^^ noble" certainly — with the vessels and steamers 
crowded in rows at the wharf sides, and the huge landing 
warehouses — seen from the middle of the bridge, is a won* 
derful sight to behold. 



I WAS privileged the other day to see a Frenchman 
land in London for the first time at Holbom Station, 
in the middle of a Sunday afternooiv* Laden with 
hand luggage, he struggled out on to the Viaduct; of 
course, there was no cab. He looked eagerly for his first 
sight of London — then checked and, with blank and open 
mouth. It was plain that he half-wondered whether he 
had not gone mad. Well he might. He had probably 
heard stories of the roaring rush and eneigy of London, 
which strikes a Parisian much as a Londoner is struck in 
turn by New York. And he saw a desolation. Nothing 
but the blind shop-windows, the silent house-fronts, the 
empty asphalt of Holborn Viaduct. Not a face at a win- 
dow, not an open door, not a footstep along the street. 
The one dwindling omnibus towards the Circus might be 
the last vehicle carrying away the last inhabitants of Lon- 
don. The City might have been utterly empty — only 
lifeless buildings left standing, and all population fled or 

The City on Sunday had never struck me as strange be- 
fore. But a moment from the foreigner's point of view 
and you see that it is among the wonders of the world. 
There is nothing in the least like it in this hemisphere. 
Go into any other capital on Sunday— even at the height 
of the summer's suburban excursions— and it is fuller, 
brighter, livelier than in the week. Go into the heart of 



London, and it is like a city stricken with a pestilence. 
Yesterday and to-morrow the street would be jammed tight 
with traffic of men and goods ; every shop and office im- 
plied a procession of comers and goers, the pavements 
vomited torrents of people, heads forward, eyes strained, 
intent only on the one business. The City roared and 
quivered and maddened with life. To-morrow it will be 
so again. To-day, in the centre of the greatest city in the 
world, you cannot buy food or drink : you cannot even find 
a cab or train to take you away from it. You might be in 
a desert. In a street that focusses the business of the world 
you stare at closed doors and still windows where only 
paper-clad boxes of samples look over the whitened lower 
half at the intruder. You can stand without a single living 
thing in sight, and bend your ears in vain to catch the 
lightest sound. When you walk, your boots thud and ring 
like a steamer's engines ; when you halt, you could hear 
the flower drop out of your button-hole. 

I had often heard that Sunday was the only day on which 
you can see London, and going lip one morning to look 
for any bits of antiquity I might encounter, I found it was 
so indeed. On Sunday London takes on a new perspective. 
Its most prominent features — as in duty bound — ^are the 
churches. On week-days you pass them without knowing 
they are there ; on Sunday, even though they are shut, you 
note them as landmarks of the time when people lived in 
the City. On Sunday you observe that there is a statue of 
William IV. opposite London Bridge, and experience an 
unfamiliar prompting to go up the Monument. You had 
always looked on the Tower as a bit of somewhere else 
that had somehow strayed on to ground that might have 
been profitably bestowed on offices and warehouses and 
wine-cellars; to-day its green-shadowed terrace, the ihu- 

.•■j.-,o ,f>'. 


barb growing in the moat, the fat old guns that grin be- 
nevolently on the Dutch steamer swinging to the tide — to- 
day you can look at them without fellow-citizens on your 
feet and in your stomach, seeming, sure enough, to be the 
principal things to look at. 

Over the Tower Bridge comes a loose but unceasing 
string of foot-passengers. Not going out of London, like 
the rest of the world, they pour steadily into the emptiness, 
which yet is never a whit fuller. You noticed the same on 
London Bridge : while half the town is heading out, the 
other half — ^the neckerchiefed and feather-flying half — is 
heading in. Towards what ? You fall in with diem along 
the Minories, which is full of people, though twenty yards 
away Vine Street and America Square are dumb as a 
sacked village in an invaded country. At Aldgate the 
crowd parts — ^half turn east, the other half go on down 
Houndsditch. A dozen steps after them and you realize 
that London is not so dead as it seemed. - Half the shops 
are wide open ; the predatory beaks, of Jews peer out of 
the doors i the street is full of a vaguely promenading 
crowd. As you go on it thickens about the old-clothes 
shops; seeing a yet thicker crowd, you turn off to the 
right, in the hopes of at least a Punch and Judy show. 
You emerge into Middlesex Street, with Wentworth Street 
beyond. And— good Lord ! 

Good Lord ! who said London was empty on Sunday ? 
Here are two streets wedged quite tight with men and 
women. Here is a combination of the rush for pit seats 
on a Gaiety first night, a race meeting, and an Eastern 
bazaar. You cannot move for the people clogging your 
elbow ; you cannot hear for the yells of auctioneers on 
barrows; you can hardly see for the dazzle of colours. 
Half a mile away is the still deserted City — and here i 


Between the two rows of barrows the thousands of mar- 
keters just move: they are in no hurry, and can keep 
watchfid eyes and ears clamped on the chances of baigain* 
ing. Without exaggeration — the reality of the astounding 
scene sends Exaggeration reeling — there is everything here 
that retail sellers can sell. Everything cheap, everything 
bad. Every kind of garment and fabric is here, and towels 
and brushes and combs and jewelry and hair-pins. Trou- 
sers festoon the streets in hundreds of pairs. ^^'Ere 7' 
are ! " yells a man from a box on top of a stall : ^ this pair 
— noo — two bob, eighteen pence, fourteen, thirteen, one 
and a 'alf, shillin' — 'ere y* are ! " — and, as he flings them 
to a pale-eyed gawk in the street, a heavy-fringed, aproned 
girl leaps after them to get the money. The boy holds 
them over his stomach and looks vaguely towards his toes : 
thus are they tried on, paid for, and taken away. He stops 
next where two rival salesmen in their shirts are yelling 
each other down. Frantically they catch up waistcoats and 
jackets from below : furiously they drag them on. Then, 
standing in the very article — ^ *Ere y' are — 'alf a soot — 
'alf-a-crown, two bob for 'alf a soot — ^blanky noo — ^two bob 
for the blanky 'alf soot, and yer can't get it for blanky 
less." Next door a merchant not less energetic appeals 
only to butchers. Over his clothes he is adorned in a blue 
jean smock and apron, which he will strip off and sell for a 
dollar and a 'alf. Every one roars like a book-maker. 
The rasping yells fling out in sudden gusts, mingle and jar 
like a saw on a nail, and rebound from house to house like 

Here you can buy harness, you can buy oil-paintings, 
you can buy books, lemonade, annotated copies of the 
Workmen's Compensation Bill, vegetable marrows four 
a-penny all boiled in vinegar, herrings from the barrel, pine- 


apple from the tin, and — chase me for my feathers ! — mil- 
lineiy. You can be weighed at Somebody's Guaranteed 
Grand National Scales and probe the wonders of the cine- 
matophpne. In the very middle of the jammed road totters 
an old gentleman with a tray full of shirt studs ; a burly 
fellow genially cleaves the press by waving a buUock's 

Yes, beyond mistake you have found London on Sunday, 
and also you have found what you never expected — ^more 
than a hint of the East. Look up along the line of plain 
and grimy house-fronts, the windows black and opaque 
with generations of soot, with only the broken panes trans- 
parent. Here and there is a house completely fronted with 
hanging finery, petticoats, shirts, children's frocks in scarlet 
and orange and ultramarine. Surely those flaring colours 
auie not of England, nor yet this town in the open. Nor 
yet half the people — curved noses and deep lustrous eyes 
and hairy bunches of features protruding from humped 
shoulders. Half the people are bargaining over the stalls 
in a lingo you do not know. The Jew has brought his 
own Orient along with him into black-skied London. 

Also you have found what you believed not to exist — 
the open-air life of London. It is not confined to the 
Jew : all the eastward streets are full of Londoners. The 
working-man in collar and tie, the working-man in silk 
neckerchief, the working-man in his working corduroy — 
he is everywhere, taking his pipe and his ease in the street. 
A few of the wives are about too— in rusty black bonnets 
and shawls, with worn bodies and pale faces ; observe that 
the men and the women take their social intercourse quite 
apart. Only among the young do you see the sexes walk- 
ing together ; for whom else is Bishopsgate Street Without 
studded with flower-girls ? Among the dingy crowd flit 


like butterflies the goigeous children of the not-quite-poor. 
In azure or cherry-coloured satin frocks, white silk stock- 
ings, and white satin shoes, these amazing bunches of finery 
mince to and fro through refuse and sun themselves from 

But the open-air life of London has its strict limit. 
The veins of strollers, you observe, begin to clot into 
groups. The groups seem to correspond with the frequent 
public-houses, and you observe on the broad-faced church 
clock that it is eight minutes to one. Here is the true 
emotional moment of London's Sunday. Each little knot 
sorts itself— cigars and white skirts and stockings opposite 
the saloon bar, clays and shawls and Jack and Tonuny op- 
posite the public, jugs and bottles in their appointed place. 
The long hand crawls slowly over the five minutes mark ; 
now it is more than half-way to the hour. The loll of 
elaborate unconsciousness which first screened the waiters 
gives place to the tense pose of listening. A footstep in- 
side and the raising of a bolt — ^the door rolls back with a 
glimpse of somebody in white shirt-sleeves. There is no 
affectation of uncertainty : every man goes straight forward 
inside, as ships glide into port. In a twinkling the houses 
are all full, and before the last man is well in the first comes 
out wiping his lips with the back of his hand. 



'HE Guildhall was originally built in the time of 
Henry IV. (141 1), but it has been so much altered 
that though the walls were not much injured in 
the Fire and only had to be reroofed, very little can be said 
to remain visible of that time except the crypt. The 
front) by Getrrge Dance^ is a miserable work of 1789. 

Here it was that, after the death of Edward IV., while 
his sons were in the Tower, on June 22, 1483, the Duke 
of Buckingham addressed the people, and after cunningly 
dwelling on the exactions of the late king's reign, denied 
his legitimacy, and, a£Srming that the Duke of Gloucester 
was the only true son of the Duke of York, demanded that 
he should be acknowledged as king. 

In 1546 the Guildhall was used for* the trial of Anne, 
daughter of Sir William Askew of Kelsey in Lincolnshire, 
who had been turned out of doors by her husband (one 
Kyme) because she had become a Protestant. Coming to 
London, to sue for a separation, she had been kindly re- 
ceived by Queen Katherine Parr, and was found to have 
distributed Protestant tracts amongst the court ladies. In 
the Guildhall she was tried for heresy, and on being asked 
by the Lord Mayor why she refused to believe that the 
priest could make the body of Christ, gave her famous 
answer — ^ I have heard that God made man, but that man 
can make God I have never heard.'' She was afterwards 
cruelly tortured on the rack to extort evidence against the 



court ladies, and on July i6, 1546, was burnt at Smith- 
field. . 

It was also in the Guildhall that the Protestant Sir 
Nicholas Throckmorton, a personal friend of Edward VI., 
was tried, April 17, 1554, for participation in the Wyatt 
rebellion against Maiy, and was acquitted by his own won- 
derful acuteness and presence of mind. 

Here, on the other side, in 1606, took place the trial 
of Garnet, Superior of the Jesuits in England. He had 
been arrested at Hendlip House near Worcester for com- 
plicity in the Gunpowder Plot. The rack having failed to 
extort a confession, he was induced to believe, whilst im- 
prisoned in the Tower, that he might confer unheard with 
another Jesuit, Oldcorne, who occupied the next cell. 
Two listeners wrote down the whole conversation, which 
was produced as criminatory evidence at the Guildhall, and 
he was condemned to death and executed in St. Paul's 
Churchyard, after which he was honoured by Catholics as 
a martyr. 

Among the other trials which have taken place here, 
have been that of the poet Surrey, in the time of Henry 
VIII., and of the poet Waller, during the Commonwealth. 

The Guildhall (152 feet long, 50 feet broad) has a glori- 
ous timber roof and vast stained windows of modern glass, 
through which streams of coloured light fall in prismatic 
rays upon the pavement. High aloft at the western ex- 
tremity the giants Gog and Magog, which used to bear a 
conspicuous part in the pageant of Lord Mayor's Day, 
keep guard over the hall, and still look, as Hawthorhe says, 
^^like enormous playthings for the children of giants." 
They were carved in fir-wood by one Richard Saunders, 
and are hollow. Being presented to the Corporation by 
the Stationers' Company, they were set up in the Hall in 


r«r..-— ■- -«>v..^ 



* ^ '■ -» ^ . r ,• , 

'• ' ^t^^^ AND 


1708, and typify the dignity of the City. There is an old 
prophecy of Mother Shipton which says that ^^ when they 
fall, London will fall also." In 1741, one Richard Bore- 
man, who lived ^near the Giants in the Guildhall," 
published their history, which tells how Corineus and 
Gogmagog fought with all the other giants in behalf of the 
liberties of the City, and how all the other giants perished, 
but these two were reserved that they might make sport by 
wrestling like gladiators with one another — ^and how the 
victory seemed to incline to Gogmagog, who pressed his 
companion so heavily that he broke three of his ribs ; but 
at last, in his desperation, CoHneas threw Gogpiagog over 
his shoulder and hurled him ifdM die top of a cliflF into the 
sea, which clifF is called Langoemagog, or ^^the Giant's 
Leap." The four huge and ugly monuments against the 
lower walls of the Hall are only interesting from their in- 
scriptions. That of Lord Chatham is by Burke, that of 
Pitt by Canning, that of Nelson by Sheridan, while that of 
Beckford is engraved with the speech with which he is said 
to have abruptly astonished Geoi^ge III. and which, says 
Horace Walpole, ^ made the king uncertain whether to sit 
still and silent, or to pick up bis robes and hurry into his 
private room." The speech, however, was never really 
uttered, and was written by Home Tooke. 

Amongst the rooms adjoining the Guildhall is the 
Alderman's Courts a beautiful old chamber richly adorned 
with carving, and allegorical paintings by Sir James Thorns 
bill. It is a room well deserving of preservation, having 
been rebuilt by Wren immediately after the Fire, and 
originally built in 1614. 

The Common Council Chamber contains a fine statue of 
George III. by Chantrey. At the east end of the chamber 
is an enormous picture of the Siege of Gibraltar, Sept. 


1782, with Lord Heathfield on horseback in the foreground, 
by Copley. Of the other pictures we may notice — 

Alderman Boydell, a fine portrait, by Beechij, 

Lord Nelson. Beechiy. 

The Murder of Ruodo. Opu, 

The Death of Wat Tyler. Ngrthcoti. 

Queen Caroline of Brunswick. Lonsdaie^ 

Queen Victoria. Hayter, 

Princess Charlotte. Lonsdale, 

The Court of the Old King*s Bench has remains of a 
Gothic chamber of 1425. It contains a noble picture of 
Charles Pratt, Lord Chancellor. Camden, painted for the 
City in honour of his speech on the discharge of Wilkes 
from the Tower, by Sir J. Reynolds. The beautiful 
chapel of St. Mary Magdalen, adjoining the Guildhall, 
built c. 1299 and rebuilt 143 1, was pulled down in 1822, 
up to which time, ^^ to deprecate indigestion and all 
plethoric evils,'' says Pennant, a service was held in it be^ 
fore the Lord Mayor's feast. Its site is now occupied by 
the ugly court-rooms on the east of the Guildhall Yard, 
which are decorated with portraits by Michael tVright of 
all the judges who sate at Clifford's Inn to arrange the 
differences between landlord and tenant during the process 
of rebuilding after the great Fire. 

No one should omit to visit, by a staircase at the back 
of the Hall, the beautiful Crypt of 1417, which survived 
the Fire. It is divided into three aisles by six clusters of 
circular columns of Purbeck nuirble, and is 75 feet in 
length and 45 in breadth. Maitland (1789) mentions it as 
** the Welsh Hall," because the Welsh were at that time 
allowed to use it as a market for their native manufactures. 

From the east end of the Guildhall a staircase leads to 


the Library. On the landing at the top are statues of 
Charles U. and Sir John Cutler, brought from the de- 
molished College of Physicians in Warwick Lane. The 
society had thought themselves obliged to Sir John for the 
money to raise their college, when that in Amen Comer 
was burnt in 1666, but after the statue was erected in 
gratitude, ^^the old curmudgeon made a demand of the 
pelf," which the society was obliged to refund to his heirs. 

The handsome modem Gothic library contains a very 
valuable collection of books— old plays, ballads, and pam- 
phlets, relating to the history of London. The full-length 
portraits of William lU. and Mary IL are by Vander VaarU 
In a room on the right of the side entrance is a valuable 
collection of drawings of Old London and of New London 

The City Museum^ in a vaulted chamber, is open from 
10 to 4 in winter, and from 10 to 5 in summer. It con- 
tains a collection of interesting relics of Old London, in- 
cluding — 

The Inscription about the Fire, from Pudding Lane. 

The painted Statue of Gerard the Giant, from Gerard's 
Hall in Basing Lane, destroyed in 1852. 

Roman pavement found at Bucklersbury, 1869. 

The Foundation Stones of Old London Bridge and Old 
Blackfriars Bridge. 

A number of curious old London Signs — St. Geoi^ge and 
the Dragon from Snow Hill; the Three Crowns from 
Lambeth Hill ; and the Three Kings (Magi) from Buck- 
lersbury. Here also is the famous Sign of the Boar*s Head^ 
erected in 1668, when the house was rebuilt after the Fire, 
to mark the tavern in East Cheap, the abode of Qame 
Quickly, ^ the old place in Eastcheap," beloved by Fal- 




Staff. Washington Irving describes how, having hunted in 
vain for the tavern, he found the sign ^^ built into the part- 
ing line of two houses *' which stood on its site. 

An old Chimney-Piece from Lime Street, from the house 
of Sir. J. Scrope (oh. 1493), ^^huilt in the 17th century, 
where Sir J. Abney kept his mayoralty, 1700, 1701. 

Returning to Cheapside, ^uan Street^ on the right, was 
formerly Soper Lane, from the makers of soap who in- 
habited it. After the Fire it became the resort of the 
^^ Pepperers," /• /., wholesale dealers in drugs and spices. 
On the right of Queen Street opens Pancras Lane, contain- 
ing a precious little oasis which was the burial-ground of 
that old church of which William Sautre, the proto-martyr 
of the English Reformation, burnt March 10, 140 1, was 




A LOVE of sight-seeing was a characteristic feature 
in our forefathers, and the remark made by Trin- 
culo, in The Tempest that ^^ when they will not 
give a doit to a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a 
dead Indian," was a most truthful saying. This feeling 
generated the frequent display of pageantry on public oc- 
casions ; more particularly when the Mayor of London was 
installed in his office— an event anciently commemorated 
with a degree of pomp of which spectators of a modern 
^ Lord Mayor's Show," can form but little conception and 
which was intimately associated with the office in the eyes 
of the ancient citizens. These Ridings as they were 
termed, occurred so often also on the public entries into 
London of our kings or their consorts, or of foreign poten- 
tates and ambassadors, that they became matters of constant 
expectation with the gayer classes, and were ardently looked 
forward to by the City apprentices, as an excuse for a holi- 
day. Chaucer, speaking of the gay apprentice, ^^ Perkin 
Revelour," says that 

" when there any riding was in Chepe 

Oat of the shoppe thider wold he lepe» 
And dll that he had all the sight yseen 
And danced well, he would not come agen. 


The origin of these Ridings may be traced to the early 


1 54 LONDON 

part of the Tbirteenth Century ; for when King John, in 
the year 121 5, first granted a Mayor to the City of London, 
it was stipulated that he should be presented, for approval, 
either to the King or bis justice. From this originated the 
procession to Westminster, where the King's palace was 
situated; and as the judges also sat there, it was necessaiy 
for the citizens in either instance to repair thither, which 
they did annually, on horseback. A water procession, 
however, came into vogue earlier than is generally imag- 
ined ; the accounts of the Grocers' Company for the year 
1436 contain items of expenditure for ^^ hiring of barges,'' 
for such water processions nineteen years before the date 
of their supposed introduction by Sir John Norman, who is 
lauded by the City Laureate, Middleton, in his Pageant for 
1 62 1, called the Sun in Aries^ as ''the first Lord Mayor that 
was rowed to Westminster, with silver oars, at his own 
cost and chaiges." The Thames watermen, who found 
the alteration of most essential service to them, gratefully 
recorded their sense of it in a ballad, the only two existing 
lines of which are the often-quoted 

'< Row thy boat, Nornum, 
Row to thy Leman." 

Although the old chroniclers have left us a pretty com- 
plete series of descriptions of royal entertainments, and pro- 
cessions through the City, we meet with nothing that will 
inform us of what the Lord Mayor's own pageantiy con- 
sisted, as exhibited in his honour, on the day of his entrance 
upon the duties of his office, until the year 1533, when the 
unfortunate Anne Boleyn came from Greenwich to West- 
minster, on the day of her coronation; the Mayor and 
citizens having been invited by Henry to fetch Anne from 


Greenwich to the Tower, and " to see the Citie ordered 
and garnished with pageauntes in places accustomed, for 
the honour of her Grace." Accordingly ^^ there was a 
common counsail called, and commandment was given to 
the Haberdashers (of which craft the Mayor, Sir Stephen 
Peacock, then was), that they should prepare a baige for 
the Bachelors, with a wafter and a foyst, garnished with 
banners and streamers, likewise as they use to do when the 
Mayw is presented at Westminster^ on the morrow after Simon 
and Jude. Also other crafts were commanded to prepare 
barges and to garnish them, not only with their accustomed 
banners and bannerets, but also to deck them with targets 
by the side of the baiges and to set up all such seemly ban- 
ners and bannerets as they had in their halls, or could get, meet 
to furnish their baiges, and each barge to have minstrelsy." 
Here, then, we are furnished with a good idea of the annual 
civic procession by water to Westminster, in the descrip- 
tion given by Hall, of the barges of the Mayor and com- 
pany. ^^ First, before the Mayor's barge was a foist or 
wafter full of ordnance, in which was a great dragon con- 
tinually moving and casting wild fire, and rounde about 
stood terrible monsters and wild men casting fire and ma- 
king hideous noises ; " this vessel served to clear the way 
for the Mayor's barge, which ^^ was garnished with many 
goodly banners and streamers, and richly covered ; in which 
bai^e were shalmes, shagbushes, and divers other instru- 
ments, which continually made goodly harmony. Next, 
after the Mayor followed his fellowship the Haberdashers, 
next after them the Mercers, then the Grocers, and so every 
company in his order ; and last of all, the Mayors' and 
Sherifis' officers, every company having melody in his barge 
by himself, and goodly garnished with banners, and some 
garnished with silk and some with arras and rich carpets ; 


and in that order they rowed downward to Greenwich 
towne, and there cast anchor, making great melody/' 

Among the pageants exhibited upon land on the day of 
the Lord Mayor's ^^ inauguration," one was generally in- 
troduced, if possible, in punning allusion to the name of the 
Mayor. The earliest on record, of this kind, is described 
by Lydgate, in his account of the reception of Heniy V. by 
the citizens of London, on his victorious return from Agin- 
court, in 1415, and which far surpassed in splendour that 
of any of his predecessors. John Wells of the Grocers' 
Company was Mayor, and three welb running with wine 
were exhibited at the conduit in Cheapside, attended by 
three viigins, to personate Mercy, Grace, and Pity, who 
gave of the wine to all comers ; these wells were surrounded 
with trees laden with oranges, almonds, lemons, dates, etc., 
in allusion to his trade as a grocer. In the same way 
Peele's Pageant of 159 1, Descensus Astrea^ which was writ- 
ten for the mayoralty of William Web, contained a sim- 
ilar allusion ; for ^ in the hinder part of the pageant did 
sit a child, representing Nature, holding in her hand a 
distaff, and spinning a webj which passeth through the hand 
of Fortune, and is wheeled up by Time." In 1616, when 
Sir John Leman was Mayor, ^^a lemon-tree in full and 
ample form, richly laden with the fruit it beareth," was ex- 
hibited ; and to give it due importance, its fabulous virtues 
were enforced by the five senses, who were seated around 
it, ^^ because this tree is an admirable preserver of the senses 
in man ; restoring, comforting, and relieving any the least 
decay in them." 

From 1639 to 1655 no pageants were exhibited; the 
unhappy civil wars of England broke out, and the City 
became one of the strongholds of Puritanism. Isaac Pen- 
nington, who was Mayor in 1643, i^ndered himself emi- 


nently conspicuous by ^^ the godly thorough reformation " 
he practised in the City. At his orders 'Cheapside was 
demolished, and St. Paul's desecrated : a wit of the day stick- 
ing a bill to this effect upon the door : — 

«< This house is to be let. 
It is both wide and fidr ; 
If you would know the price of it. 
Pray ask of Mr. Mayor." 

During the mayoralty of Sir John Detluck, in 1655, the 
first restoration of pageantry took place ; for on the day of 
his inauguration he exhibited the usual realisation of the 
arms of the Mercers' Company, of which he was a member 
— the crowned Viigin, who rode in the procession with 
much state and solemnity. The number of pageants yearly 
exhibited continued gradually to increase until 1660, the 
year of the Restoration of Charles II., when the Royal Oak 
was exhibited as the principal feature of the day's display, 
and gave title to Tatham's descriptive pamphlet; after 
which period they gradually increased the splendour and im- 
portance of the Shows, which contained many allusions to 
the blessings of the Restoration and the virtues of Charles 
II., in contradistinction to the days of Oliver. 

Pageantry again revived during the reign of William III., 
but the spirit of the old Shows had departed, and the in- 
ventive genius of the City Laureates had fled with it. 

The last City Poet was Elkanah Settle; he had been 
preceded by Peele, Munday, Dekker, Middleton, Webster 
and Heywood, the dramatist ; John Taylor the Water 
Poet, Tatham, Jordan and Taubman. The last public ex- 
hibition by a regular City Poet, was in 1702, on occasion of 
the Mayoralty of Sir Samuel Dashwood, of the Vintners' 
Company, and it was, perhaps, as costly as any. The 


patron saint of the Company (St. Martin) appeared, and 
divided his cloak among the beggars, according to the 
ancient legend ; an Indian galleon rowed by Bacchanals, 
and containing Bacchus himself, was also exhibited; to- 
gether with the Chariot of Ariadne ; the Temple of St* 
Martin; a scene at a tavern entertainment; and an 
^^ Arbour of Delight," where Silenus, Bacchus, and Satyrs 
were carousing. Settle also prepared an entertainment for 
1703, which was frustrated by Prince Geoige of Denmark, 
the husband of Queen Anne, who died on the 28th of 
October, the. day before its intended exhibition. 

The last attempt at resuscitating the glories of the ancient 
Mayors, being so unfortunately frustrated, and the taste for 
such displays not counterbalancing that for economy, no 
effort was made to revive the annual pageantry, and the 
display seems to have sunk to the level at which it has re- 
mained for more than a century ; the baiges by water, or a 
single impersonation or two on land, being all that were 

Hogarth, in his concluding plate of the ^^ Industry and 
Idleness " series, has given us a vivid picture of the Lord 
Mayor's Day in the City, about the middle of the last century, 
Frederick Prince of Wales, and his Princess, are depicted 
seated beneath a canopy at the comer of Paternoster Row, 
to view the procession. Other spectators are accommodated 
on raised and enclosed seats beneath, the members of the 
various companies having raised stands along Cheapside, 
that of the Mercers appearing in the foreground, while 
every window and house-top is filled with gazers, the streets 
being guarded by the redoubtable City Militia, so humor- 
ously satirized by the painter, and one of whom, anxious 
to honour the Mayor, discharges his gun, as he turns his 
head aside, and shuts his eyes for fear of the consequences. 


The Mayor's coach, with" its mob of footmen, the City 
companies, the men in armour, and the banners, present as 
perfect a picture as could be wished of this ^red-letter 
day " in the City. 



AT half-past nine, on a dull, close morning, I act 
out, alone and unarmed, to cross London on foot 
from end to end. The feat may have been per- 
formed by other explorers, principally tramps, but few, if 
any, have lived to think it worth mentioning. I would be 
the Nansen or Stanley of London. 

I happened to live exactly on the hem of London. If 
you go out by the back gate you are in market-gardens and 
dairy-farms, presently among coppices and downs, and so 
on to the sea. If you go out of the front door you are in 
a London street with little shops and big vans and board 
schools. The house used to be a country dwelling for a 
rich merchant or a retired diplomatist still interested in 
aflFairs : hither he drove down from town to enjoy his fruit- 
trees and rose-garden, his lawn and old elms. There are 
still a dozen such on this south-western fringe of London ; 
but now that the tide of London's slum has washed up all 
about them, rich merchants desire them no more. 

All I had to do, then, for my adventure was to make for 
the heart of London — say, Trafalgar Square — and go on 
straight till I came out on the other side. I should have 
the monster then in section, and be able to see the grain of 
it, so to speak. 

There was not likely to be much, I told myself, to stir 

reflection or imagination in the suburbs that I have known 

smce I was a boy. But going along for the first time in 


./ Y "» R w: 



life, with the idea of London in my head, I soon recog- 
nized my mistake. Merton, Tooting, Balham, and Clap- 
ham are not names like Runnymede or Marston Moor. 
Nothing ever happened at any of them except rare and 
transitory murders, and they are not peopled by saints and 
heroes and men of genius, nor yet by melodramatic black- 
guards and victims. They are quite commonplace — in 
short, suburban. 

Yet, you find yourself giving them, as members of Lon- 
don, a significance and even a distinct individuality apiece. 
Merton is nearly all new, shabby and patchy — the type of 
a district that has never been quite sure whether it is grow- 
ing up as a suburb or as a village by itself — ^that worst of 
its kind, a village close to b^ great town. Even now it is 
not quite sure that it is .Ipoiidon. You do not see the 
morning and evening crowds stream in and out of its sta- 
tions. Little glimpses of it are rural — z little grey bow- 
windowed coaching-inn, a tar-boarded mill by a black pool, 
or the leaves and blossoms of horse-chestnut trees rising 
oflF a backwater of the Wandle like a great altar covered 
with tapers. But the most of it is too poor and bewildered 
even to be vulgar. The tiny shops crouch and tuck in their 
elbows, afraid of being squeezed by London. The jerry- 
built £^o houses spread out their terraces flauntingly ; but 
as yet they have not quite conquered the land, and little 
patches of rubber-strewn, half-hearted green lie derelict be- 
tween old and new. You can see that this outermost 
suburb is London in the making — all sorts of houses, all 
sorts of employments, all sorts of people — not yet quite sure 
of its destiny, and waiting for London to come and mould 
it to the shape that London will. 

A high wall with a big, brown, broken-windowed house 
-^inside the gates a litter of tree-trunks, and bavins so 


newly cut that they are still trying to bud — ushers you into 
Tooting. There is no need to tell you what that means. 
It is the custom to smile at the very mention of Lower Toot- 
ing, but even I remember it as a narrow, huddled, red- 
roofed village street, and charming. Now they have brought 
down the tram-line, and they are widening the road in 
front of the new £^o terraces ; the new shops are already 
getting middle-aged. Even at this late hour gentlemen 
with bags, in frock-coats and tall hats, are running after the 
Blackfriars Bridge tramcar. And when you get to Balham 
the process of Londonizing is complete. The last double- 
gated houses with stables are coming down ; the line of 
shops in the second-hand Mount Street style is almost con- 
tinuous ; in the streets that take off from the high road the 
villas — fifty pounders now, many of them, and even more 
— ^are like peas in a pod. 

Balham is frankly suburban. It owes its existence to 
the demands of inner London — of the seat of government, 
of the commercial centre of the country, of the world's 
broker — for more men than actual inner London can house. 
The shops live on the villas, and the villas live on London 
proper. Balham is a parasite — ^the type of a suburb. But 
though it has been nothing else in my recollection, yet there 
is somehow a change. It seems that London, which ap- 
pears the most conservative of all great cities, is continu- 
ally changing after all. The shops seem different from what 
they were. Ten years ago they were all single and small, 
and the business was the property of the man who lived 
above it. Now a few have grown and added window to 
window, and the others seem to be dying out. Now you 
see names like Lipton or Freeman, Hardy, and Willis — 
names you know from advertisements — instead of simple, 
struggling Smithers or Perkins. Amalgamations and joint- 


stock companies are crushing the life out of our old friends ; 
another generation and there will be no more shopkeepers 
in London— only shareholders and directors and man- 

Another feature in the shops I seemed to notice as new and 
spreading. Even the smaller businesses seem shy of being 
known by personal names. They give themselves titles 
now — the Far-Famed Cake Company, the Ten Per Cent 
Wine Stores, the Assembly-Rooms Dining-Rooms. You 
find the same tendency in such different places as New 
York and Port Said ; but in London it is novel. It means, 
presumably the same thing as the appearance of the 
branches of large firms — ^that we do our marketing nowa- 
days not with men, but with names. It is no longer the 
shopkeeper you deal with — ^the man you know — but the 
name ; and, that being so, of course you have the highest- 
sounding names possible. Now Clapham — a suburb of 
quite a respectable antiquity, which sowed its wild oats of 
Methodism as long ago as Tliackeray's time, and has now 
settled down into a general-pXirpose suburb, like the 
modestest of them. Here, too, the population must have 
thickened vastly in the few years I have known it. But 
what arrests me principally is the Common, where, as a 
boy, I plucked gorse — illegally — and jumped ditches, and 
even found an occasional red blackberry. Now — O 
County Council ! — now there is a painted iron band-stand, 
with painted iron chairs stacked round it, and a municipal 
refreshment-room, where they sell mineral waters and buns. 
The poor thing — transplanted child of France or Italy, 
where out-of-door cafes flourish in their native air and soil 
— is small and dark ; nobody seems to be buying anything 
in it, nor does it seem to wish to sell ; plainly it is saying, 
** I am an orphan, far from my native land." And then 


all the grass is railed in nowadays, till the paths look like 
corridors in a prison. 

Yet let us be just even to the London County CounciL 
In my youth nobody seemed ever to be taking the least 
care of Clapham Common ; now it is plainly looked after 
and cared for, and that very sensibly. In the days when 
you found red blackberries, you hardly found grass for a 
cricket-pitch i now the bare places are resown by sections 
and the young turf enclosed^ so that the whole place is at 
least green. Green — that is all you can say for it, and all 
you can expect in the middle of such a beleaguerment of 
houses. The cheerless, artificial-looking, green-baize green^ 
too, that grows under a sky which has no colour but only 
weight — ^but still green and so far grateful. 

Now I came down into Battersea— down the gradient 
and down in the world. Hitherto London had grown 
comelier towards its rich centre ; now comes a header into 
poverty. Dingy and hard-working and poor — here was the 
poor man's suburb, a new phenomenon. Highly honest 
and respectable, the Queen's Road, with well-built houses, 
is as clean as anything could be among so many chimneys. 
It is a poor quarter, but not a slum — ^the home, not of vice, 
but of honourable labour. Choking in the reek of the 
town, seamed with railway viaducts, pitted with goods- 
stations, Battersea yet commands at least as much respect 
as pity. 

Past the Park — another testimonial to the care and 
prudence of the London County Council — over the trem- 
bling bridge, into Chelsea, where the poor are housed. It 
is not beautiful, though the trees are green here and there ; 
but the masses of model dwellings, where alleys were, are 
the sign of a great reform enacted in our lifetime all over 
London, and still going on. And now — as abruptly as you 

• r N > » • fv -J 

N t \ , 


entered — you quit poor man's London again. Round a 
corner, in a second, you' are out of suburbs and in the 
centre. Behind you flannel petticoats are drying from the 
windows. Before you roll the carriages of the Belgravians, 
under the wing of Buckingham Palace. 

London's effects are broad, but they should be melodra- 
matic enough for anybody. I made a half-way house of a 
dub, reflecting, with a foolish sense of a great discovery, 
that the clothes which had been seemly in Balham and 
ofiensively rich in Battersea seem a kind of nakedness in 
St. James's Street. 

In the centre, the real London, along Pall Mall, through 
Trafalgar Square, along the Strand and Fleet Street, I no- 
ticed that I noticed nothing. In the suburbs, whether poor 
or well-to-do, I found things worth remarking, even when 
I knew the districts quite weO. ' But the hciart of London 
gave no such suggestions : it was just there to be accepted. 
These streets are not especially beautiful or supremely im- 
portant. They are not so elegknt as Mayfair, or so 
imperial as Whitehall, or so rich as the City. Yet, some- 
how, they are the heart of London. To them and from 
them sets the full tide of London's blood. Clubs and 
theatres and newspapers are their chief features — parasitic 
institutions aU, in their way. They are not elements of 
the city's life, but amenities of it : they reflect rather than 
constitute London. We do not live there, and most of us 
do not work there. Yet if you wanted to lay an ambush 
for a man your likeliest place would be there : you would 
get him in time, between St. James's Palace and Ludgate 
Circus. You can hardly ever pass along this line without 
seeing somebody whom you know if only by his portrait. 

I struck up Fetter Lane— one of the inside seams of 
London. I had read of a proposal to improve and renovate 


it in 1863, but I judged it must have fallen through. If 
you like antiquarianism, know that this street was named 
after the faytours^ or loafers, that infested it in early times : 
there are a few left still. Across Holborn Circus, and in 
Charterhouse Street, you come on a second, more sombre 
epitome of London. Here is Smithfield, that supplies Lon- 
don's kitchen ; St. Bartholomew's Hospital, that instructs 
many doctors, and tends London when it has fallen under a 
dray. Farringdon Road is the same sort of supply depot ; 
only here you get London at its most dramatic and its most 
ironical. Underneath towering wholesale warehouses, 
whence clanking cranes drop great bales into broad vans, 
trail lines of the smallest and most retail tradesmen in the 
world. Indoors they sell by the ton; outdoors, by the 
ha'porth : and you can buy an odd volume of a set of 
seventeenth-century sermons, or a portrait in oils of some- 
body else's grandmother with a hole through it, or a con- 
demned pair of opera-glasses, or a brass handle from some- 
body else's door. 

The costers' stalls stop at Cierkenwell Road; but the 
character of the quarter remains. You go through a cafion 
of warehouses on one side, and artisans' dwellings on the 
other — each as tall and sheer, as grim and dingy, as the 
other. I have always been rather puzzled what to make 
of Cierkenwell. None of its buildings seem to have any 
fronts, — it seems a city of backs. I now begin to think 
that this is the outward symbol of its essential character. 
It appears to be the store-room and box-room of London— 
a place where things are kept, a place where they emerge 
when you want them. Accustomed . to have things when 
you want them, you forget in your ingratitude the very ex- 
istence of the store-room till you stray into it. If you buy 
tobacco from Salmon & Gluckstein, or pills from Warner's 


Safe Cure, it never occurs to you that there must be a place 
where they fix the prices and concoct the drugs. But, of 
course, there is ; and here you find them both in Clerken- 
well Road. Presently, after crossing into Old Street, you 
are assailed by a vigorous and familiar smell, half acid, half 
sickly : you have come to the place where they make 
Champion's vinegar. The explorer records such discover- 
ies with a peculiar satisfaction. You would expect every- 
body to know where these things be i yet he alone among 
travellers has tracked them to their sites, and gazed with 
emotion at their unveiled sublimities. 

By the time you have got so far along Old Street the 
landscape has changed again. The gloomy walls of build- 
ing sink, the roadway widens. Clerkenwell Road looks 
half-deserted ; Old Street bustles and tinkles with anima- 
tion i you seem to have come again to a place where live 
people, not commodities. Yet the place seems to wear a 
more homogeneous aspect than, for instance, Battersea, 
where people of all trades seem merely to live and buy their 
necessaries. Look into the shops and you get the clue : 
you are coming into the home of furniture-makers. Here 
is a turner's; there a window full of brass knobs and 
drawer-handles ; beyond, they seem to specialize on uphol- 
stery ; at the comer is a timber-yard. Presently I pass the 
end of Curtain Road — a sheer street of furniture-dealers, 
the metropolis of the trade. Every other man you meet is 
employed about furniture in one way or another. In the 
streets that radiate from Shoreditch Station almost every 
other house is a workshop or a warehouse or a dealer's. 
Within a mile are concentrated more than half the furni- 
ture-makers of London. 

Up to now I had traversed all my route before ; now I 
plunged boldly into the virgin forests of Kingsland Road, 


To my shame, I have to report no discoveries. I observed 
that it was very, very long — pavements are not such easy 
going to anybody accustomed to anything else — but for the 
rest it was a street of the inner suburbs, full of omnibuses 
and tramcars, flanked by a railway, lined with shops, dotted 
with stalls, adorned with vast public-houses. Kingsland 
High Street was not different : I struck off eastward, desir- 
ing to refresh the soles of my feet on Hackney Downs. 
From the reports of geographers I determined that I must 
be very near them. 

I passed through streets of residential suburb, the ana- 
logue of the newer parts of Clapham. So far, to judge 
from my route, London seemed a series of concentric belts, 
like a taiget. The bull's-eye was somewhere about Traf- 
algar Square ; there was the central meeting district, the 
central business district — Clerkenwell and Pimlico; the 
poor suburbs — Hoxton and Battersea ; the better-oflF sub- 
urbs — Hackney and Clapham. With the analogies came 
the cold thought that Hackney Downs might be even as 
Clapham Common. With the thought came a railway 
bridge, and beyond it a smoke-drenched island of green 
with a notice-board, and on the board — ^yes ; I knew it — 
Hackney Downs. There is a manufactory of something 
noisome near it, and the black fumes from its stack rolled 
all over, voluptuously throttling the poor little bit of green 
— if such are the lungs of London, give me asphyxia. 
Again, the County Council had done its best, enclosing the 
place with iron hurdles along the footpaths, so that the land 
might grow grass and cricket as rotation crops. There was 
grass to look at, certainly ; but grass under the leaden sky 
again, with the additional torture of the black smoke— once 
more the vicious, poisonous green-baize of poor London's 
only spring-time. 


Hackney Downs behind me, I looked for my north- 
eastern Balbam, and found it in Clapton. Clapton has still 
a few decorous green-brown garden walls and houses left, 
but I turned out of it very soon. Now, pounding along 
the Lea Bridge Road — going a little short and footsore by 
now — I was in the straight. The Lea Bridge Road would 
surely take me clear out of London. The scenery was 
promising — scanty grass, waterworks, a railway station that 
seemed to have gone to sleep, railway viaducts without 
stations or houses. But, for all that, tram-lines still pur- 
sued the road, and I never lost sight of houses. Courage, 
however : it could not be far. From the top of the next 
rise I should surely see the country. 

What I did see, to my disgust, was London beginning 
all over again. A green with the vamped-up remnants of 
a village on one side, and then streets on streets again. I 
came to cross-roads with trams and 'buses radiating every- 
whither. The London pavements were beginning to crawl 
up my shins. Still, there was hope : it was just like Toot- 
ing — down to the very reappearance of the Far-Famed 
Cake Company, which appears to hide its fame in very re- 
mote tracts. Still the dauntless explorer toiled on. Now 
there appeared a mass of trees before me, a gate, and 
within it grassy slopes. I pressed on with fresh vigour. 
Now I was walking under elms and chestnuts ; now — 

London again ! A regular main-street of it, confound 
it ! With shops almost up to the Balham standard. Had 
I turned round inadvertently, and was I heading straight 
back into it again ? Now came a hill, with the mocking 
tram-lines running up it, eligible residences on either hand. 
I had finally decided that the thing was endless. There 
was no edge of London at all. . • . Aha ! Trees and 
grass ! And not only that, but trees beyond them, and trees 


beyond. And blossoming hawthorn. And especially no 
houses. I felt like 'Stanley emerging from darkest Africa. 
Epping Forest, and no more London ! 

It had taken over four hours and a half of actual walk«> 
ing, from which I infer that the distance was a little short 
of twenty miles. It took me, by tram-car, omnibus, train, 
cab, train, and omnibus, three hours to get back again. 



IN many respects, London has no advantage over other 
cities i in several points, it is even inferior to some. 
The good taste shown in the architecture of its pal- 
aces and public buildings is not unfrequently questionable, 
to say the least. The West End itself contains few man- 
sions that would not find their equals in Paris, Vienna, or 
Berlin. The old monuments, scattered here and there 
about the town, are hardly more curious than those of most 
other nations, and sink into complete insignificance when 
we remember those of Rome. The public gardens and 
parks, trim and well-kept as they are, exhibit nothing that, 
to a greater or less extent, is not to be found in every 
wealthy capital of Europe. But that which can be seen 
nowhere but in London — that which gives it its peculiar 
stamp and its special beauty — is its night and its fog. 
Night in London ! 

Stand upon Westminster Bridge, and gaze at the in- 
numerable glories reflected back by the Thames ; the ave- 
nues of gas lights and rows of illuminated windows, re- 
peated in the heaving waters, and trembling and undulating 
as the waters heave \ the solitary electric lamp that shines 
out from the immense station of Charing Cross; the red, 
blue and emerald green lanterns on the railway bridge far 
away, and the long cloud of white smoke that iris-like, 
takes the colour of each lantern over which it rolls, while 

it marks the passage of a fiery messenger along the rails $ 



the lights of the swift, graceful steamboats below, plying 
upwards against the tide, or downwards with it, and making 
the brown waters foam and sparkle ; the factories on the 
south side of the river, all ablaze with a thousand radiances; 
the long straight line of lamps, that stretches as far as the 
eye can see above Westminster Bridge, where Lambeth 
Hospital faces, not unworthily, the great Houses of Parlia- 
ment : and with all these splendours surrounding you, and 
in the midst of this whirlpool movement ever more and 
more rapid, ever louder and louder, as the great city swells 
to vaster dimensions year by year — go and talk nonsense 
about the stars and the light of the moon I Prate about 
cornfields and green grass, sheep and oxen, when you see, 
streaming past you over the bridge — out of the darkness, 
into the darkness — ^thousands of living fellow-creatures, all 
of them thinking and willing, many of them loving and 
hating, some of them like unto holy angels, and some like 
fiends from hell ! Oh, the dread intensity, the wonderful 
meaning, the turbulent grandeur of the scene ! Starlight 
and moonlight may indeed embellish it; the towers of 
Westminster, silvered with celestial radiance, may indeed 
look more splendid than when they loom, black and solemn, 
out of the lamp-light and starless obscurity; still, to thy 
mind, these occasional interferences add but little to the 
scenery, and their absence does not matter much. What 
would the fairest of capitals — Venice, for instance — be at 
night, without those lamps of Heaven ? Only London 
gives out enough light to be, like the Medusa, beautiful by 
its own phosphorescence. 

London by night, from Westminster Bridge, is darkly 
picturesque ; in Druiy Lane, wildly picturesque. It now 
remains for us to see London weirdly picturesque. 

I was crossing the narrow bridge for foot-passengers that 

• I 


runs by the side of the Charing Cross railway bridge. It 
wais broad daylight — that is, as broad daylight as we got all 
that day. And yet I could see neither whence I came nor 
whither I was going. Men and women, like shadows, 
some passing one way, some the other, came out of in- 
visible r^ions, and vanished into regions invisible. I 
looked downwards : I could just see the turbid waves below 
me, and their uneasy undulations to and fro. I looked up- 
wards : a faint, hazy, bluish tint told me that there was a 
sky oveiiiead. But in all the broad expanse before me, I 
could not tell where the dark-brown hue of the Thames 
melted into the pale azure of the firmament. Nothing could 
be distinguished — ^absolutely nothing. The nearest bridges 
above and below, the houses on either side, Cleopatra's 
gigantic Needle, the boats and coal-baiges — ^if, indeed, 
any were then moored upon the river — were completely 
out of sight. I was suspended in the air between the 
dimly-seen sky and the dimly-seen waters, oh a bridge that 
neither ended nor began, or rather, of which the beginning 
and the end were a few yards off from me on either side. 
A dozen feet or so of railing, right and left ; trains con- 
stantly whizzing by, with thundering noise and exploding 
fog-signals ; human beings, indistinct in the near distance, 
distinct for a moment while they pass, and then again at 
once indistinct and swallowed up in the cloud; a most 
perfect gradation from the seen to the unseen, through all 
possible varieties and shades — would not such a sight be 
eminently worthy of a great painter's pencil, or a great 
writer's pen ? 

Or take another point of view: Waterloo Bridge on a 
foggy evening ; not, however, when the vapours are densest, 
but when they just begin to thicken, rising from the 
Thames. How the eye plunges down the long vista of 


lights — some fixed, some mobile — in the vain endeavour to 
distinguish Blackfriars Bridge, otherwise than by the stream 
of sparks that flit backwards and forwards upon it ! And 
the eddying mists — ^now thicker, now thinner, as the wind's 
direction changes — make the lights twinkle like the stars of 
heaven, and more than they^ some appear all but ex— 
tinguished and then again revive suddenly, while the ac- 
cumulated fog is driven hither and thither, up or down the 
stream. To use a homely comparison, the vanishings and 
reappearances of the lamps in the uncertain distance are not 
unlike the train of scintillations that we see running on the 
black and shrivelled surface of paper which has just been 

And has not a foggy morning its beauties too ? I was 
not long ago journeying from Clapham to Westminster on 
the top of an omnibus, while a thick mist, curling and 
shifting about, alternately hid from view and partially re- 
vealed the rows of houses that glided past us like grey 
spectres. Above their roofs, but scarcely above them, the 
red sun peeped, or rather bounded along to keep pace with 
us — which he did. Sometimes he was for an instant con- 
cealed behind chimney-stacks, steeples, or public edifices, 
and then he again showed his fiery orb, broad and brilliant. 
And, as we pass before Kennington Park, the skeleton 
trees one after another cover the golden globe with a deli- 
cate, black, ever-changing network of branches — z sight 
not to be despised. Now we turn away : our direction has 
changed, and the sun disappears. Shall we no more see 
him beaming jovially and genially into our faces — not a god 
too bright to be gazed at, but the familiar companion of 
our journey ? Yes, there he is again ! — again, though but 
for a short time, we see him bounding along the horizon, 
as if to bid us farewell. 


Now all that effect is owing to the fog. Say what you 
will against it, I still maintain that no one can truthfully 
deny the picturesque beauty obtained by the agent that, in- 
stead of letting you shut your eyes from the dazzling sun- 
beams, brings the great Giver of light himself into the 
landscape, and contrasts his living, burning globe of flame 
with the cold angular outlines of the grey shrouded houses 
and the dead leafless boughs of the desolate trees. Is not 
this contrast beautiful ? Yet nobody notices it, because it 
is at our doors. • • . In the weird indistinctness that 
it sheds upon everything in this world of London — clothing 
the Houses of Parliament with phantom drapery, effacing 
the hands on the dial of the Clock Tower, and annihilating 
to the eye the mighty dome of St. Paul's, while leaving its 
foundations and walls intact — ^the fog throws the glamour 
of mystery over all, and thus gives a touch of poetry to a 
wilderness of buildings that would by themselves be too 
prosaical, too matter-of-fact. 

But it may be said that I plead for the fog in general, 
not for the London fog. What is there of the beautiful in 
this dingy yellowish monster, shedding flakes of black 
snow all round, and almost stifling you in the thick folds 
of its close embrace ? I own that this dinginess, this jaun- 
dice hue, this combination of smoke and mist that gives the 
very sun a ^^ sickly glare ** and extinguishes the electric lights 
at a hundred yards, seems to be, and is, repulsive. But 
-take away the idea of mere annoyance, of trifling incon- 
venience, which the fog suggests, and try to substitute that 
of a terrible calamity of which it might be either the cause 
or the accompaniment ; you will no longer say that the 
fog's appearance is ^^ horrid " or ^^ disgusting,'' but rather 
confess it to be fearful and grand in the extreme. When 
you see at the end of a long interminable street a thick 


volume of fog settling down and rolling onwards in tri- 
umph, fancy that it is the plague-cloud, conveying deadly 
germs into every household that it reaches; or imagine 
that London, besieged by the enemy, is burning, and that 
the fog-signals are the detonations of shells from hostile 
batteries ; or think that Vesuvius, when about to overwhelm 
Pompeii, began by rolling forth such a cloud down its sides. 
You will soon find it terribly picturesque. And, therefore, 
if the fog is not so, that arises only from our associations, 
disagreeable indeed, but without the element of grandeur 
that might attach to them. 

London, the metropolis of the world, is unique ; it is 
meet that its beauties should be unique also. At the hour 
when the charms of Nature vanish from sight, or only 
come forth if the heavens lend their aid, London, all the 
year round, spreads before all beholders a constant pano- 
rama of splendour and of brilliancy. In the lowest depths, 
in the mud-abysses of this ocean of humanity, we often 
and often perceive wild glimpses of rude and savage, but 
joyful and exuberant life. And at those seasons when the 
enchantment of verdure ceases in the groves, when the 
magic of sunlight loses its power in meadow and field, the 
enchantment of another magic lends to the buildings and 
the streets of London a mysterious charm for him who has 
eyes to see. 



THE ^hardest-worked of London's thoroughfares is 
Fleet Street; its bedtime is from one to three. 
These are the hours men seize upon to wash it : 
by the time the last suburban home-goers have reached 
Ludgate Hill the vestry men are out with their hose to 
sluice the poor tired thing down. It is almost empty. A 
hansom or two lies in wait for the infrequent editor. The 
policeman stands in a reverie to read the bill of fare of the 
long-cold restaurant, and haply wonders what ^^choux- 
fleurs au gratin " might be. 

You go back at three — when the rest of London has got 
soundly to its nest — and Fleet Street, hardly dry from its 
morning tub, is in the flush of its morning's work. A 
dull grinding roar runs surf-like along its two shores — ^the 
sound of many printing machines. Carts are moving 
through winding alleys out of gas-lit stables. Piles of 
newspapers grow up on its pavements, and presently one 
by one the carts clatter away. The muffled shriek of 
whistles and the clang of distant buffers remind you that 
the railway stations — ^they also^never sleep. 

Clatter and whistle and clank — ^yet with it all Fleet 
Street is unearthly still. You miss the background — ^the 
roar, that orchestration of the London streets which in the 
daytime accompanies and harmonizes all the leading notes. 
At night the roar is gone; a cart comes round a comer 

with a crash that almost startles. It is the same with sighf 



as with sound. It seems a paradox, but the night is the 
only time when you can see London. In the daytime if 
you tried to look up you would be knocked down. More- 
ever, it never occurs to you to do any such thing; the 
over-driving torrent of traffic keeps the eyes down, and 
you forget that the buildings are anything more than the 
frontiers of the roadway. 

Go down to the Embankment, for example, where you 
can watch the Thames. Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridges 
are coronets of lamps ; between them the venerable river 
is half seen, half divined through his mantle of mist. He 
is darkly turbid in the yellow gaslight, and you can smell 
his nakedness ; yet he is very great and deep and strong, 
bearing up the heavy baiges lightly, running, winding, 
powerfully yet not violently, through the heart of the City, 
reminding us that we are of the sea. One baige drifts 
past like a phantom ; the clink of the windlass on another 
insists on making itself known more intimately than by 
day. Here, again, London never sleeps ; but, ever carry- 
fng, scavenging, seething, inspiring, the most wakeful of all 
Londoners is the Thames. 

** Whispering terrible things, and dear " — to all of us — 
whispering of trade and empire to some, but whispering 
perhaps something else, not less terrible and dear, to these 
shadow-shapers on the Embankment benches. They, too, 
are part of sleepless London — because they must be. The 
rule is that you may sit on the Embankment seats, but you 
must not doze there ; and that rule the. police enforce. So 
you see dim forms rise up at the reveille of the policeman's 
boot, and walk themselves awake again, passing on to the 
next seat. But that is full — three old men and an old- 
young woman, their clothes swaddled round them as far as 
they will go. A boy — thank heaven for boys ! — has had 



the idea of hiding himself behind one of the parapets near 
the river police station and sleeps profoundly. So does a 
gentleman with a white tie showing over his coat, sitting 
with his head swinging outboard as if it would break off and 
tumble into the tall hat which rolls at his side. Snoring 
richly, he is — for the moment — ^the happiest man on the 
Embankment. For the rest of them — they are London's 
bad dreams. 

There are three things, you soon perceive, for which 
London will not wait — food, letters, and newspapers. The 
paper-carts are still clattering towards the stations, and 
there is nothing to compete with them but the four-horsed 
parcel-post vans and the market wains. They both breathe 
of the country, and altogether at night London is very 
much nearer to the fields outside than she is by day. The 
post-vans have come up by road from any where within fifty 
miles, for all the world like stage-coaches : they are a sug- 
gestive comment on our loose control over our railways. 

The big draught-horses and big waggons have not come 
so far; but they have come far enough to give you a smell 
of apples and turnips, almost as sweet as hay. At Covent 
Garden you find them slowly choking up the maze of little 
streets. Porters pass slowly up and down ; work is in full 
swing ; but again all is curiously silent. The men are too 
sleepy to give you the full benefit of their mixture of 
country and cockney ; there is no sound but the scrunch 
of heavy wheels, backing to their unloading places, and the 
slithering of heavy iron-shod feet on the sticky cobbles, as 
the luckier horses file oiF to their stables. The bait-stable 
might come stra^ht from a farm — ^just a big whitewashed 
blank with a manger along one end ; the smell of this, too, 
has stolen somte sweetness from the fields. Covent Garden 
is half lit and half asleep ; Smithfield, on the other hand. 


flares with light and echoes with strong voices. Through 
the broad streets you are guided by meat-waggons of a form 
seldom seen by daylight — a sort of railway horse-box on 
wheels, but with open sides, which show you half-oxen 
hanging, each in its own compartment, from the roof. 
Through the alleys about little Britain you may follow a 
steady stream of salesmen, brisker than the vegetable peo- 
ple of Covent Garden. And the big market is a blaze of 
light and colour. 

But London is not all belly ; the General Post Office is 
an island of gaslight, and the red mail-carts are lumbering 
off after the newspapers towards the early trains. But go 
on to Cheapside, and at last you come to what you sought 
-^London asleep. Here, indeed, the city is paved with 
silence. The very policeman hardly breaks it — for most 
of his time he is bending over locks to see if anybody is out 
a-burgling. You can look down glades of houses, all 
asleep, and see not a single living thing. And all the time, 
dim as the light is, you find yourself discovering beauties 
and interests passed a hundred times unsuspected in the 
broad light. The City churches, by day those survivals of 
a dead past, now become the focusses of hitherto unnoticed 
street-scapes. The Bank is mean, and the only interesting 
thing about the Royal Exchange is its grasshopper. But a 
church of St. Peter lets a serene classical face into the 
architecture of Cornhill that dignifies all the street, and the 
key on the top of it is the dominant note of a whole eye- 
full. Near it you see an ornate Gothic porch, where, till 
now, you have only seen ornate stockbrokers. Queerest 
of all is a little country Quaker meeting-house, right in the 
middle of Bishopsgate Street, a couple of very old shops for 
its lower storey, going by the name of St. Ethelburga's. I 
seem to have heard of it in some connection with Mr. 


Kensit, or Father Black, or some other church-brawler ; 
but who did ever set eyes on it in Bishopsgate Street ? 

Time has been crawling on — you must try walking aim* 
lessly all night before you can realize how slowly time 
crawls. Now it is half-past five. Pacing half asleep along 
Bishopsgate Street, you meet a working man, striding 
smartly, his dinner in a red handkerchief. Behind follow 
another and another, then two, then a group. You notice 
that they all step onward as with a purpose, very differently 
from the loafers of the night. These rafust be morning 
people, beginning their day, not ending it. Then you turn 
the comer of Liverpool Street, and a thick column of men 
is streaming out of the Great Eastern Station, heading 
across the road, plunging forward into the streets all 

And suddenly, all at once, it is morning. Dawn steals 
up shyly under electric lamps, but now you see that the sky 
has lightened from dark grey to nearly white. Things be- 
gin to clothe themselves in their day colours. You feel the 
breath of the morning on your face and its indefinable stir- 
ring in your blood — ^yes, even in Finsbury you feel it. 
People crowd in round every corner, from every opening as 
at a cue ; they might be the chorus filling up the stage of 
an opera. From Broad Street now as well as Liverpool 
Street, on foot, on bicycles, leaping down from the tail- 
boards of railway waggons, they come and come. A public- 
house, closed a moment ago, is suddenly open. From no- 
where spring up men at every corner selling morning 
papers. For two hours they pour in steadily ; faster and 
faster the stations vomit them out, till succeeding train- 
loads merge into one continuous torrent of people. Nearly 
all are men — ^which is the characteristic of the land where 
the working man brings a cup of tea to his wife's bedside—- 


while abroad a large proportion would be women. The 
wonder is whitber are they all bound. For though London 
is clearly awake and has already absorbed its thousands, it 
hardly seems less empty than before. A few men at work 
on a building, an electrical engineer on a doorstep just get- 
ting to work at his dynamos, a man removing a dust-bin — 
that is all, so far. London is so vast that all this crowd 
soaks in no deeper than this. But all the fringe is waking 
now, and every station pours in its fresh hordes. Presently 
the shops are opening. The first Tall Hat rises splendidly 
on the scene. London is awake indeed. 



ST. SAVIOUR'S CHURCH— one of the finest 
parochial churches in the kingdom — in spite of 
the barbarous mutilation which it underwent when 
its nave was pulled down, is now almost the sole remaining 
object of ^ Old Southwark." In spite of the loss of its 
original nave, it is deservedly styled by Mr. A. Wood in 
his Ecclesiastical Antiquities of London^ ^^ the second church in 
the metropolis, and the first in the county of Surrey." It 
is one of the few parish churches in the kingdom possess- 
ing a ^ lady chapel," still perfect. 

Before the Reformation it was styled the prioiy church 
of St. Mary Overy, and its early history is almost lost in 
the mists of tradition. There is a curious legend connect- 
ing the building of the original London Bridge with the 
Church of St. Mary Overy, but it is has been much dis- 
credited. The story is related on the authority of Stow, 
who chronicled it as the report of the last prior, Barthol- 
omew Linsted : — ^^ A ferry being kept in the place where now 
the bridge is builded, at length, the ferryman and his wife 
deceasing, left the same ferry to their only daughter, a 
maiden, named Mary, who, with the goods left her by her 
parents, as also with the profits of the said ferry, builded 
an house of Sisters on the place where now standeth the east 
part of St. Mary Overy's Church, above the quire, where 
she was buried, unto which house she gave the oversight 
and profits of the ferry. But afterwards the said house of 



Sisters being converted into a college of priests, the priests 
builded the bridge .of timber, as all the other great bridges 
of this land were, and from time to time kept the same in 
good reparation; till at length, considering the great 
charges which were bestowed in the same, there was, by 
aid of the citizens and others, a bridge builded with 

Long after good Mary Audrey (or Overie) died — ^if, in- 
deed, she ever lived — a noble lady named Swithin changed 
the House of Sisters into a college for priests; and in 1106 
two Norman Knights, William Pont de TArche and Wil- 
liam Dauncey, re-founded it as a house for canons of the 
Augustine order. Gifiard, then Bishop of Winchester built 
the conventual church and the palace in Winchester Yard 
close by. It was in this priory that the fire broke out in 
1 21 2, when the greater part of South wark was destroyed, 
and another fire breaking out simultaneously at the northern 
end of London Bridge an immense crowd was enclosed be- 
tween the two fires, and 3»ooo persons were burned or 
drowned. The canons thus burnt out established a tempo- 
rary place of worship on the opposite side of the main 
road, which they dedicated to St. Thomas, and occupied 
for about three years until their own church was repaired. 

The church was then dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen. 
In 1273, Walter, Archbishop of York, granted an indul- 
gence of thirty days to all who should contribute to the re- 
building of the sacred edifice, and towards the end of the 
following century the church was entirely rebuilt. Gower, 
the poet, it is stated contributed a considerable portion of 
the funds. 

In 1404 Cardinal Beaufort was consecrated to the see 
of Winchester, and two years later was celebrated in this 
church the marriage of Edmund Holland, Earl of Kent. 

1 \ \ 

I . 

^ 1.. i-'i ■ ^ 



with Lucia, eldest daughter of Barnaby, Lord of Milan. 
Henry IV. himself gave away the bride ^^ at the church 
door,'* and afterwards conducted her to the marriage 
banquet at Winchester Palace. It was in this church, too, 
a few years subsequently (1424), that James L of Scotland 
wedded the daughter of the Earl of Somerset, and niece of 
the great Cardinal, the golden-haired beauty, Jane Beau- 
fort, of whom, during his imprisonment at Windsor, the 
royal poet had become enamoured, doubting, when he first 
saw her from the window, whether she was 

" A worldly creatore. 
Or hetyenly thing in likeneM of nature.*' 

At all events, the King describes her in his verses as 

** The fiurest and the fi«ahett yonge flower 
That ever I saw, methonght, before that hour.*' 

Tlie marriage feast on this occasion, too, was kept in the 
^ great hall of Winchester Palace, and in a style befitting the 
munificence of the cardinal. The marriage, as we are told, 
was a happy one, and the bards of Scotland vied with each 
other in singing the praises of the queen, and in extolling 
her beauty and her conjugal affection. In 1437 James was 
murdered by his subjects, his brave queen being twice 
wounded in endeavouring to save his life. 

At the dissolution of religious houses in 1539, the priory 
of black canons — for such was that of St. Mary Overy's — 
of course shared the general fate of monastic establish- 
ments ; but the last prior, Bartholomew Linsted, had the 
good fortune of obtaining from Henry VIII. a yearly pen- 
sion of ;Cioo. The inhabitants of the parishes of St. 
Mary Magdalen and St. Maigaret-at-Hill — which latter 


church ttood on the west side of the High Street, on the 
spot till recently occupied by the Town Hall — ^purchased, 
with the assistance of Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Win- 
chester, the stately church of St. Mary. The priory 
church was also at that time purchased from the king, and 
the two parishes were united under the title of St. Saviour's, 
the priory church having been recognized by the name of 
St. Saviour's for nearly thirty years before. At the same 
time the church wardens and vestry were constituted a 
«« corporation sole." Six years before that period a dole 
had been given at the door of the church, and so great was 
the crowd and pressure on that occasion that several per- 
sons were killed. In pre-Reformation times this church 
was the scene of many religious ceremonies and public 
processions. One of these, conducted with great pomp 
and ceremony, is described by Fosbroke in his economy of 
monastic life, as follows : 

** Then two and two they mirch'd, and loud bells toU'd; 

One from a sprinkle holy water flung ; 
This bore the relics fiom a chest of gold. 

On arm of that the swinging censor hong ; 

Another loud a tinkling hand-bell rung — 
Four Others went that singing monk behind. 

Who suited Psalms of Holy David sung ; 
Then o'er the cross a stalking sire inclined. 
And banners of the church went waving in the wind*" 

Various alterations and restorations have at different 
times been made in the fabric of the church. The Lady 
Chapel, at the eastern end, is a relic of the older edifice. 
The tower of the church was repaired in 1689 ; and in 
1822 a complete restoration of the fine Gothic edifice was 
commenced. The brick casings with which generations 

I I 


'". » '.f^K.* ANC 


of Goths had hidden the beautiful architecture were re- 
moved; groined roof and transepts were restored, and a 
circulau* window of rare beauty added. But even in this 
great work the taste of the age, as represented by the 
vestry and churchwardens, interfered; the noble vista of 
the long-drawn aisle was broken, and a new and sorry 
modem nave constructed in its place. 

The edifice is very spacious and is built on the plan of a 
cathedral. In its style of architecture, excepting its tower, 
it somewhat resembles Salisbury Cathedral. It comprises 
a nave and aisles, transepts, a choir with its aisles, and at 
the eastern end, as above stated, the chapel of the Blessed 
Virgin, or, as it is most commonly called, the Lady 
Chapel. Contiguous, but extending, farther eastward, was 
added a small chapel, which' in tin^' cahie to be called the 
Bishop's Chapel, from the tomb of Bishop Andrews having, 
been placed in its centre. This latter chapel was entered 
from the Lady Chapel Sunder a large ppinted arch. The 
chapel itself was rather over thirty feet in length, and had 
a stone seat on each side, and at the east end. However, 
as it was thought to injure the effect of the eastern eleva- 
tion of the church, as seen from the new bridge road, it 
was taken down in the year 1830. A view of the Bishop's 
Chapel, from the last sketch that was taken of it, is given 
in Taylor's Annals of Su Mary Overy. 

At the intersection of the nave, transepts and choir, rises 
a noble tower, thirty-five feet square and one hundred and 
fifty feet in height, resting on four massive pillars adorned 
with clustered columns. The sharp-pointed arches are 
very lofty. The interior of the tower is in four storeys, in 
the uppermost of which is a fine peal of twelve bells. Ex- 
ternally, the tower, which is not older than the Sixteenth 
Century, somewhat resembles that of St. Sepulchre's 


Church, close by Newgate. It is divided into t^vo parts, 
with handsome pointed windows, in two storeys, on 
each front ; it has tall pinnacles at each comer, and the 
battlements are of flint, in squares or chequer work. 



O the southeast of the Cotswolds a little streamlet 
rises in the meadowland beneath the hills, and 
between the fields of Glocestershiie and Wilt- 
shire glides gently towards Oxford, widening as it goes. 
Its waters ripple more gaily as they flow beneath the arch 
of Folly Bridge, past all the college bai]ges, as if they knew 
very well that it was only for the races of the various boat 
clubs that they are there at all. This river has had its first 
youthful taste of the pleasures of a larger world, and 
hastens on to Henley, where between the Berkshire and the 
Buckinghamshire shores it breaks into the best stretch of 
racing-water in the Kingdom, and puts on all its brightest 
attire for the Royal Regatta. Past many a waterside man- 
sion and many a busy town, the current moves towards the 
sea, gathering in volume and strengthening in memories as 
it goes. At last between the counties of Middlesex and 
Surrey the river flows majestic, Thames confessed. 

As we shall see, the work that Thames is asked to do to- 
day is neither so pleasant nor so picturesque as in those 
older days when the citizens found in their great water 
highway not merely a means of transit from one end of 
London to the other, but an opportunity for endless 
pleasure and pageantry as well. The river may well fancy 
that we are anxious to hide its very waters from our sight, 
so many are the bridges that now bind one bank to the 
other in a well-nigh continuous band of overarching streets 



and railways. Yet if a man will follow the winding of the 
stream, from Chelsea only, he will see more of the life of 
that city, of which it is still so great a part, than in almost 
any other way. There are no booksellers along the Em- 
bankment, as Sala once suggested, as on the pleasant quays 
where you may loiter happily along the banks of Seine; 
nor is it possible for the whole distance to keep the actual 
brim of water by your side. 

Really to see all that the river may be disposed to show, 
you must float upon its surface in whatever craft shall oflFer, 
through the crowd of barges, tugs, and steamers, beneath 
iron girders, where the trains are rattling to and fro, below 
stone arches where the roar of traffic echoes, past tall 
chimneys pouring smoke into the sky, past churches in- 
numerable, with the great dome of St. Paul's above them 
all; past the strong curve of the Embankment, to the 
sheds and warehouses and cranes of London Pool, where 
the crowded masts of blackened craft lie huddled side by 
side, where the great docks open out, and the merchandize 
of every sea is pouring into the greatest city of the 

And of all this that is on the surface and that meets the eye 
at once, the strongest impression you will take away is that 
of a multitude of bridges. There is no greater testimony 
to the growth of London, as I have pointed out before. 
Until 1750, Old London Bridge stood alone, and alone had 
to suffice for all the purposes of commerce and communi- 
cation. Every bridge we see now has been built within 
this century. By 1865 these had cost nearly four millions 
sterling, apart from what had been laid out by the railway 
companies. It is but very lately that we have seen the 
Tower Bridge opened to fresh streams of traffic from both 
banks. The illustrations which accompany these lines will 






. '.N-.x AND 

\ >■ 

NL'* TIC N6 


give a better idea than most of us have realized before of 
what these bridges are, and of the shores from which they 
spring. And to these presentations of what is with us 
now, I would fain add something of what they have re- 
placed. As we float down the stream it will be easy to 
listen to the memories that are echoing beneath their arches 
as we pass out of the west towards the sunrise and the sea. 

The old ferry at Lambeth Palace disappeared in 1750, 
when the opening of old Westminster Bridge brought a 
payment of ;C2)205, by way of compensation to the 
revenues of the See of Canterbury. Here, between West- 
minster and Lambeth, the Archbishop had the patent of the 
only horse-ferry on the Thames at London. The chaises 
in the last century used to be is. for a man and horse, 
2J. 6J.J for a coach and six and 2s. for a waggon. Small 
wonder that the Archbishop .needed some equivalent. The 
public got their compensation ih thef suspension bridge we 
have to-day ; and they would be somewhat impatient now, 
I fancy, if they were asked to cross by the old methods, 
even if they felt that th^y ^were swelling the Archbishop's 
fees by the process. The first bridge at Westminster had 
been built by a Swiss, Charles Labelye, who calculated that 
twice as much stone was used in its construction as had been 
built by Wren into the fabric of St. Paul's. Magnesian 
limestone was the special kind employed, and before the 
middle of this century its enormous weight had to be re- 
duced by lowering the roadway which only preluded its 
complete destruction soon afterwards. So St. Paul's sur- 
vived, which only shows that bulk is not invariably lasting. 
But the old bridge is worthy of recollection, if only for the 
sonnet Wordsworth wrote on it. 

It was in 1859 that the new bridge was begun, built of 
iron and concrete, timber, brick, and granite, the cheapest 


of the London bridges in proportion to its size, and the 
widest of them all. From the river you may scarcely see 
it at its best j but from the Surrey side its broad approach 
makes a fine foreground to the Houses of Parliament on 
the other bank. Charing Cross Bridge is frankly utilitarian. 
But a little further on, at the bottom of Villiers Street, 
there is an absolutely useless and very beautiful water-gate, 
which was built by Nicholas Stone, after the designs of 
Inigo Jones for Duke ^^ Steenie.*' Its position will give 
some idea of the height to which Sir Joseph Bazalgette 
raised up the roadway from the river. 

Of this Victoria Embankment you get a good view from 
Waterloo Bridge, which Canova is reported to have con- 
sidered as the finest bridge he had ever seen, while Baron 
Dupin considered it to be worthy of Sesostris and the 
Caesars! After all this, its ^^ Grecian Doric columns" 
are something of a disappointment, though the nine massive 
arches leave an impression of implanted strength that has 
its value. It was designed by John Linnell Bond and built 
by Rennie in 1817, on the second anniversary of Welling- 
ton's victory. Its cost of half-a-million was doubled by 
the expense of its approaches. 

I can never see Cleopatra's Needle without thinking of 
Gautier's beautiful lines to the obelisk in Paris, which is 
bewailing the dust and vulgar turmoil of a modem city ; 
while its sister, on the silent desert sands, laments her cen- 
turies of stately solitude. Three thousand years ago the 
rose-coloured granite of this time-worn monument was 
brought out of Syene ; it has seen the Egypt of Abraham 
and Moses: and it looks somewhat out of place between 
the bridges of Charing Cross and Waterloo. When 
Shelley's dream shall have come true, and ^^ London shall 
be an habitation of bitterns . . . when the piers of 


Waterloo Bridge shall have become the nuclei of islets of 
reeds and osiers, and cast the jagged shadows of their 
broken arches on the solitary stream," then perhaps the 
obelisk will still be standing, above the tide of time, out- 
lasting the ruins of yet another civilization. 

But there is little chance of becoming sentimental with 
Blackfriars Bridge ahead ; more particularly if you remem- 
ber that when Robert Mylne of Edinburgh laid its first 
lines of Portland stone in 1760, the sum of j^"! 1,250, 17X., 
bdn was paid to the Waterman's Company, for the privi- 
l^e of their Sunday Ferry. It was repaired in 1840, and 
Joseph Cubitt made the new bridge later on, with granite 
pedestals that still are waiting for the statues of our kings. 
But high above the houses on the left rises St. Paul's, seen 
best from the river whose bridges seem frequently to have 
su^ested the desolation of the city. For it was a ruined 
St. Paul's that was the famous subject of that sketch im- 
agined by Macaulay, ^^when some traveller from New 
Zealand shall in the midst of a vast solitude take his stand 
upon a broken arch of London Bridge." That artistic 
wanderer would not have had so good a view as is presented 
here ; as you may see, if you pass on with the stream be- 
neath John Rennie's Bridge of Southwark to London 
Bridge beyond. Here is the best link with that old London 
whose cathedral we have just been looking at. 

Since the first piles of wood that in 994 were driven in 
opposite St. Botolph's Wharf, there have always been arches 
across the river at this spot. Before Canute came over, the 
old structure was renewed ; and two more wooden build- 
ings still were raised before, in 1209, the first ^^stone bridge 
with buildings on it" was erected by Isembert, who had 
done good work of the same kind before at Xaintes and 
Rochelle. There was a gate-house at each end; and in the 


midst a chapel (as may be seen across the Rhone at 
Avignon), beneath whose ruins, when the river bed was ex- 
cavated in 1828, the bones of the pious founder, Peter of 
Colechurch, were discovered. John Rennie's workmen 
found many relics besides : spear-heads and weapons, coins 
of Augustus and Vespasian, money from almost eveiy 
European country, tokens from Venice, counters from 
Nuremberg: all the scraps that every busy century had 
dropped as its citizens hurried to and fro across the water. 
On this bridge many strange things happened. Fire and 
siege it has seen, insurrections and populau* uprisings, 
national rejoicings, public funerals, sudden calamities. In 
1 21 2 three thousand persons were burnt to death by a fire 
which destroyed each end, a fact which shows with terrible 
clearness how many houses were crowded together on that 
narrow space. In 1264 De Montfort repulsed Henry IV. 
here, and the people attacked the Queen's baige, as she was 
trying to get through one of the arches. Here in 14 15 Heniy 
V. rode in triumph after Agincourt ; across the same bridge 
seven years later he was carried upon his bier to buriaL 

Here, among the crowded shops whose sign-boards hung 
across the roadway, lived Holbein and — long afterwards 
—-Hogarth. Printsellers and booksellers abounded here 
always. Pinmakers, too, did congregate here $ and there is 
a story of a haberdasher, bom near the central chapel, who 
never got a minute's sleep when he went into the country, 
for lack of the murmur of the swirling tide beneath him 
that had lulled his slumbers since his infancy. There is 
the same uncanny stillness in the air when you have left 
Niagara. But upon Old London Bridge the sign-boards 
were not the only decorations. The gate-houses at either 
end were generally fringed with traitors' heads. 

In Queen Elizabeth's day the most striking erection on 


the bridge was Nonsuch House, near the drawbridge, all of 
woodwork ''made in Holland, marvellously carved and 
gilt." By 1666 these houses were all burnt in the Great 
Fire, and though rebuilt once more they were finally demol- 
ished in 1737. The old bridge fell after them' into Lethe 
in the first quarter of this century, and New London Bridge 
was opened by William IV. and Queen Adelaide in 1831. 

Sir John Herschel once announced that London occupies 
nearly the centre of the terrestrial hemisphere. What he 
may have meant to be taken in a scientific sense may cer- 
tainly be applied figuratively to the extent of London's 

Were statistics allowed, I could produce a most astound- 
ing and perfectly accurate list of the recorded items seen by 
Howell and taken in at the port of London during one day, 
on September 17th, 1849. ^^^ ^^ wonders of the Custom 
House I must leave to your imaginations. 

I have not mentioned the 

** Towers of Jollus^ London's lasting shune^ 
With, many a foul and midnight murder fed." 

It was by boat that State prisoners were taken to Traitor's 
Gate at the Tower, and by river, too (sometimes even to 
the same entrance, unfortunately), that royal visitors went 
down in stately baiges to the Tower or to Greenwich. By 
river also the Star Chamber prisoners were taken to the 
Fleet, and at Wapping was '* Execution Dock." All of 
which things may serve as a grim reminder that Thames 
could tell you more than you have seen upon his surface. 

But there was light as well as shadow in the old days of 
the river's history. Then men held sports of all kinds on 
the water, joustings and battles upon boats (as may be still 
seen in Provence), where each champion carried spear and 


shield, or fought with staff and buckler from a wheny. 
Wagers were still settled too, and races rowed among the 
watermen, of which '^ Dc^ett's coat and badge " is a sur- 
vival. Then, too, every great house had its pleasure-barge 
and wherry, and the royal craft went to and fro, all gay 
with gold and tapestry. Cardinal Wolsey invariably ^ took 
his barge " to Putney. Sir Thomas More handed over his 
'^ baige and eight stout watermen " to his successor in the 
chancellorship. Beneath coloured awnings, companies of 
the citizens went out for holiday jaunts to visit the ^ Folly 
on the Thames," a floating ^ summer-house with music,'* 
between Somerset House and the Savoy. Pepys went about 
so entirely by way of the river, that he makes especial note 
of going anywhere by land. Only 150 years ago there 
were forty thousand names on the lists of the Watermen's 
Company, which helps to explain the large sum paid them 
in compensation when Blackfriars Bridge was built. The 
river, in fact, was the only safe and comfortable highway 
from one end of Liondon to the other. In the dirty ill- 
paved streets men rode on horseback and women were car- 
ried in their litters. Only those walked who could not 
help it. 

Even when a hard winter came, our ancestors were not 
to be denied their fun upon the Thames. For on January 
24th, in that long frost of 1634, which lasted from the be- 
ginning of December until well into February, Evelyn says 
that he saw on the frozen river, '^ bull baiting, horse and 
coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cookes and 
tippling places, so that it seemed a bacchanalian triumph." 
The days of such hard frosts, apparently are over, 
and it is strange that they were so much more frequent 
in the earlier centuries. In many other ways Nature now 
seems stinting of her wonders to a generation which openly 


tries to get along without her. There was a dolphin, in 
the Fifteenth Century, who frequently visited the bridge ; 
and swans and salmon were to be seen in plenty under its 
arches. In 1749, upon a fatal seventh of June, thirty-five 
salmon were netted below Richmond ! Even as late as 
1 783, a two-toothed cachalot was captured above London 
Bri(^. But watermen and wonders alike have disap- 
peared. The old landing-places remain much the same, 
but all else is changed. 

And the great opportunity the river always gave seems 
to have gone with them. For when shall such sights be 
seen again as when the dead body of the great Elizabeth 
^^ was brought by water to Whitehall " ; or when the state 
baiges of the twelve great Companies welcomed Charles 
II. at Hampton Court and escorted him along the river to 
his palace ; or when the bier of Nelson was rowed from 
Greenwich to the Admiralty in 1806? The romance of 
Thames is vanishing. The '^Confraternity of Bridge 
Builders '' has passed the limits of its old beneficence. The 
next century will, no doubt, see the Thames at London 
hiding in its tunnel. 



LONG the river-bank, we pass through ancient 
Lambeth, the old mansions and palaces of which 
have either utterly disappeared, or been converted 
into huge warehouses, wharfs, manufactories, distilleries, and 
other places of business. The original Higb'Straty a narrow 
alley, the wooden tenements on the north side of which 
overlook the Thames, is a curious specimen of the archi- 
tectural taste of our ancestors. The extreme narrowness 
of this thoroughfare is a sufficient indication that, at the 
time it was formed, walking on foot was the common mode 
of transit from one place to another within the limits of 
the town, and that carriages were as little used for the 
purposes of conveyance by the people generally, as balloons 
are at this time. Quitting this gloomy avenue, we find 
ourselves in front of that venerable edifice, Lambeth Palace^ 
for many years the chief seat of the Primate of all England. 
It is supposed that upon the ground occupied by the palace 
the Countess Goda had a residence ; but, not to dwell upon 
the legendary history of the place, it will suffice to say that 
Lambeth Palace was built in 1189 by Baldwin, Archbishop 
of Canterbury, and rebuilt by Archbishop Boniface (princi- 
pally as it now stands) in 1262. Archbishop Chicheley, in 
the reign of Henry V., erected that portion of the building 
known as the Lollards' Tower. He was a persecutor of 
the followers of WidifF, and the tower derived its name from 



a room appropriated to the imprisonment of the followers 
of that reformer, who were called Lollards. This room is 
twelve feet by nine, planked with elm, and some rings and 
staples to which the captives were chained remain. The 
Roman Catholics were in their turn imprisoned there. 
Queen Elizabeth committing several persons of rank to 
this place. The gate-house was built by Archbishop 
Morton in 1490, and the library was begun by Archbishop 
Bancroft in the reign of James I., and carried on by Dr. 
Juxon, the prelate who attended King Charles at the place 
of execution. Archbishops Laud, Sheldon, Tenison, and 
other prelates, contributed munificently towards the library ; 
and Dr. Charles Manners Sutton, at his own expense, 
caused a catalogue of the valuable manuscripts to be 
printed, and partially opened the archiepiscopal library to 
the public. The long gallery was erected by Cardinal 
Pole. It is ninety feet long by sixteen broad, and its walls 
are covered with portraits chiefly of primates. In the great 
dining-room, which is about thirty-eight by nineteen, there 
are portraits of all the archbishops consecutively from Laud 
to Comwallis. The great hall, which was destroyed dur- 
ing the civil wars, was rebuilt by Juxon at an outlay of 
i^i 0,500. Itjis ninety-three feet long by thirty-eight, with 
a Gothic roof constructed of timber. The guard-chamber, 
fifty-six feet by twenty-seven and one-half, which is sup- 
posed to have been built at the commencement of the 
fifteenth century, is roofed like the hall. The chapel, 
which was raised by Boniface, Archbishop of Canterbury 
from 1244 to 1 270, and in which, ever since its foundation, 
all the primates have been consecrated, is seventy-two feet 
by twenty-five, and in height thirty feet. A handsome 
screen divides it into two compartments, an inner and outer 
chapel. Archbishop Parker, who died in 1575) is buried 


under the communion table. Some modern additions in 
the Gothic style, called the New Buildings^ were made to 
the palace by Archbishop Howley, after the designs 
of Mr. Edward Blore the architect. The park and 
gardens attached to Lambeth Palace are laid out with 
great taste, and comprehend eighteen acres, rather less than 
a fourth of which is covered by the kitchen garden. De- 
scription can but imperfectly convey an impressal of this 
feudal-episcopal relic of early ages ; the artist, perhaps, may 
succeed in rendering the delineation more vivid, but to be 
properly appreciated its ancient walls, heretofore the in- 
flexible gaolers of the early Reformers, should be visited. 

Before quitting this venerable edifice, it will not be un- 
profitable, briefly to notice some of the leading points in its 
individual history. 

In 1345, John de Montford, Duke of Brittany, did 
homage to King Henry IIL in Lambeth Palace. When 
Wat Tyler and his rabble outraged all propriety in 1381, 
and made the levelling of all distinctions, and the fusion 
of all property, the bases of his reform, a portion of his 
gang beheaded Archbishop Sudbury, then lord high chan- 
cellor, plundered the palace, and with the barbarous in- 
stincts of licentious mobs, burnt most of the goods, books, 
registers, and remembrances of chancery. During the civil 
wars between Charles L and the Puritans, the palace was 
again the obnoxious point of attack to the disaflFected. 
Laud, the primate, had become unpopular in consequence 
of having advised the King to dissolve parliament. In 
May, 1 641, a paper, the authorship of which was attributed 
to John Lilbume, was affixed to the Old Change, recom- 
mending the apprentices to rise and attack the episcopal 
residence. On the nth of May, five hundred men be- 
sieged the palace, but the prelate, who had received prior 


information of their mischievous purpose, fortified the old 
keep, and the rioters, after an investment of two hours, 
signalized themselves by no exploits more illustrious than 
the demolition of a few windows. Several of the ringlead- 
ers were captured, and one of them was executed for high 
treason. Lambeth Palace did not long remain impregnable 
to the assaults of democracy, for in 1642 the House of 
Commons ordered that the archiepiscopal rents should be 
received by a committee of their own members, and appro- 
priated to the service of the commonwealth. Towards the 
close of that year it was converted into a prison for royal- 
ists. Dr. Anthony Leighton being appointed the keeper, an 
unfortunate fanatic who had been cruelly treated by the 
Star Chamber, having had his ears cut off, and both his 
nostrils slit for writing a book called Zion*s Plea ; or^ An 
Appeal to the Parliament. If the like punishment were now 
inflicted upon the writer of every trashy, inflammatory, and 
unsaleable pamphlet against constituted authorities, what a 
crowd of ungainly physiognomies would be displayed by 
our scribblers of milk-and-water treason. After the death 
of Charles I., Lambeth House, as it was frequently called, 
was purchased by Colonel Scott, one of the regicides, who 
was executed at Charing Cross in 1660, and Matthew 
Hardy. They pulled down the great ball, converted the 
chapel into a dancing-room, and sold the furniture and the 
movables, except the wood and coals, which were reserved 
for the use of the soldiers. Among the prisoners confined 
here during the civil wars were the Elarls of Chesterfield 
and Derby, and Sir Thomas Armstrong, who was after- 
wards put to death as an adherent of the Duke of Mon- 
mouth. The library was preserved by an ingenious device 
of the learned Seldon, who interested himself with the 
ruling powers to have the books placed in Trinity College, 


Cambridge, on the assertion that the college had a rever- 
sionary right to them on the abolition of episcopal jurisdic* 
tion. In the time of Archbishop Sheldon the books were 
restored to Lambeth Palace. 



WE all knew Blackfriars Bridge Station, and we 
all know the shell of it that remains. But I 
wonder how many even of the people that 
nimble through its echoes a dozen times a-week know that 
they are passing over 600,000 bottles of champagne. 

It feels rather like seeing a ghost when you come out 
again to the bit of platform after many years. There is 
just a tiny patch of it left, giving on to nothing : you 
might be on a clifF overhanging an ocean with pulsing 
trains for rollers. The offices behind the platform are ut- 
terly alone in the thick of London. Therein sit the quiet 
commanders of trucks and good engines, and order hither 
and thither champagne enough to intoxicate the whole pop- 
ulation of any city, save Liondon, in the whole British 

Think of 600,000 bottles! I do not know how far 
they would stretch in the direction of the moon ; but you 
may take it that there is enough champagne in this one 
cellar under Blackfriars Bridge Station to give a glass to 
every adult in London. While, if it all belonged to you, 
it would take you, drinking a bottle a-day, over 1,600 years 
to get to the end of it. 

Among hydraulic lifts and cranes you go down into the 
cellar. By dim gas-jets you see a narrow gridiron of pas- 
sages leading in every direction ; the houses that make the 

streets are all cases of champagne. Cases piled up to the 



roof, their white sides gleaming pallidly in the half-light — 
here a block of Moet & Chandon, a terrace of Veuve 
Clicquot, an alley of Perrier Jouet, a broken suburb of 
Pommery. Every single case has its name branded on it, 
and also its own stencilled number. . Not one can be lost ; 
and when one particular number is demanded it must be 
found in its proper street and taken out into the cramped 
roadway, and then all its deranged fellows built up again : 
which gives you an idea of the enormous unsuspected toils 
that go on about and above and below you every day in 

This storage of champagne is the symbol of quite a new 
change in the wine trade. Less than twenty years ago the 
cellar stood empty. In those days the wine merchant 
bought what he thought he could sell, paid the duty, 
brought it home, kept it until he sold it ; if there was any 
sudden demand beyond the capacity of his cellar, he sent 
over to France for what was wanted, and the demander had 
to wait until it came. But when the duty on sparkling 
wines went up from 2i., first to 6j., then to jx. 6^., it was 
not so easy for the merchant to pay the Customs people out 
of hand and wait till the wine was sold to get his money 
back. ^ So the wine was stored in bond, either at Dover or 
at Blackfriars. It was found, moreover, that champagne 
kept in a temperature of 58^ to 60^ matured faster than it 
did in the cold cellars of Epernay. Finally, there arose a 
firm of carriers (G. & I. Porter) which did to the wine 
trade exactly what Cook & Son have done for passengers. 

They bring the wine—- or brandy, if you like ; it is all 
one to them — away from the vineyard, and store it any- 

* As a matter of fiict, the war, which proyed to be the tragedy of George 
Steevens's career, has at this moment (1900) sent the duty flying to no 
less sum than & . 6d, — Ed. 

. ^ t> 

v,.» * 


V, ,liNl.'/' ' 

.( .Nb 

WINE 205 

where-^Calais, Boulogne, La Rochelle — where cellarage is 
cheap. It is not theirs, you understand, but the merchant's 
who bought it ; they carry and store it for him. But if he 
wants it suddenly, instead of sending all the way to Eper- 
nay or Cognac or wherever it may be, he lets the carrier 
know what he wants, and across and up from Calais it 
comes in a couple of days ; the carrier clears it at the Cus- 
toms House, and the merchant has only to sell it to the 
customer. This carrier system saves time and trouble and 
— ^as the carriers, like Cooks, give better terms than a small 
individual — money too. Not a single day passes but this 
firm brings across the Channel orders — ^anything from a 
dozen bottles to 40,000 — for a score of different merchants. 
I'he wine you drank last night came neither from London 
nor from its native vineyard^ the chances are that this day 
last week it was lying in a cave at Calais or under Black- 
friars Bridge Station.* 

Yet another change lies iii the rise of the big cash houses, 
which issue periodical price-lists; you know them, of 
course. The old style of merchant, giving all but unlim- 
ited credit to most of his customers, kept the prices floating 
that he might recoup himself for the outlying of his money. 
But now, with the price-lists disseminated everywhere, the 
lowest cash price tends to become the normal price. The 
small merchant — especially in the provinces — finds th^t his 
customers only come to him for odds and ends to supple- 
ment their London orders, and then complain that he, 
giving credit, asks a higher price than the big merchant 
who exacts cash. In time the little man will die out of 
the wine trade, as already he is beginning to die out of 

If, therefore, you want to see a big cellar, with 40,000 
dozen bottles or so to inflame your imagination, go to one 


of the large wholesale dealers. Deep down under the by- 
streets about Mark Lane or Eastcheap are streets and stair- 
ways, corners and squares, all built of bottles. There you 
will find yet another example of the perpeptual changes of 
London — ^the most conservative of capitals — that metamor- 
phoses itself from day to day under your very eyes. 

You learn with a chill shock that cellars are no longer 
expected to be dirty. You may see the old style and the 
new without travelling more than ten yards underground. 
To the first you go down a sort of hatchway out of a' 
flagged yard. You bend under an arch, turn into a vault, 
and go down a narrow sloping passage with a stumbling- 
step at the bottom. You tread in pools of water i ooze 
drips from the sweating roof on to your hat, With it droop 
stalactites of cobweb and mildewed fungus ; and they grow 
over the bottles till these look like rows of black tumours. 
In the new cellar everything is as clean underground as it is 
in the manager's office above. You go down stable stair- 
cases with sharp corners ; you walk on concrete ; a slight 
dampness on the wall attracts instant attention. The bot- 
tles in the bins flash in the electric light ; the rows of dig- 
nified pipes at rest on their scantlings of ship's timber are 
almost as well dusted as your furniture. Indeed, there is 
no room for mildew in such a cellar j space is as dear under 
the City as on its surface. So that a bin is let into every 
recess of the huge pillars of masonry that support the tiers 
of offices and the web of by-streets above. In time the 
wine-town with its myriad battalions of dumb, reclining 
bottles — so wealthy, so potent, yet so still and silent — ^be- 
comes almost eerie. You pass from aisle to aisle, up a 
staircase, round a corner, under an arch, down a staircase : 
it seems endless — a new submerged city supplementary to 
the one you know. Now a heavy door suggests an emer- 

WINE 207 

genc7 exit to a basement, a lift and dim skylight show we 
are under a street ; and always through the gaps in the bins 
you see the caves and towers of brickwork — ^the firm-set 
feet of London. 

The place is full of newly invented plant. There is a 
vat wherein twenty people could sit down to dine, with 
pumps and hose to work it ; there is a tiny thing like a brass 
taper-holder that a push of a button transforms into a wand 
tipped with electric light for examining the cleanness of 
barrels and jars. Electric light, in truth, has been a god- 
send to cellarmen ; they can now keep the bins both light 
and cool. Here, too, is the newest corking-machine^— a 
creature which takes the cork in iron fingers, squeezes it 
along a slot to a round end over the bottle that compresses 
it to the right size, then shoots down with a bolt from 
above — and behold the closure is hermetical. There are 
still thousands of people not yet old who remember when 
the wine was bottled at home — a week chosen when there 
would be no callers to announce or guests to wait on, and 
the butler and footman very dirty in the morning and dirty 
and tired in the afternoon, and perhaps the least bit inarticu- 
late at night. It was not hurried over, that time of bottling. 

Everything changes — the very vintages die and new ones 
rise up and usurp their places. Even I have drunk '47 
port, though unworthily, and '74 champagne ; but now they 
are well-nigh impossible either to buy or to drink. Yet 
port and champagne maintain themselves sturdily in the new 
age, and fear not the challenge of whisky. They subsist 
of all qualities, too. Dessert port must still be good, though 
a degenerate age prefers to remain above the table; cham- 
ps^ne this generation now drinks from the beginning of 
dinner to the end. On the other hand, the housewife who 
treats herself to an occasional bottle of wine buys cheap 


port; the poor and pretentious buy cheap champagne. 
Sherry is all but dead, however, and white claret of good 
vintages still holds its own } the consumption of Buigundy 
is increasing. The one endures, the many change and 
pass. Vintages perish and whole brands decay ; but Wine 
endures for ever. 



DESCENDING now to the river's side we may 
think what amazing progress has been made 
in developing and adorning this noble stream, 
and all within twenty years ! l^hree or four great monu- 
mental bridges, the almost Roman Embankment ; the rail- 
way running under ground, the red-brick terraces at 
Chelsea, the palatial hotels at Charing Cross and Water- 
loo Bridge; Northumberland Avenue now built over on 
both sides, the many statues; the laige and flourishing 
plane trees, and the gardens I What a change from the 
sludgy sloppy land and foreshore, the mean bai]ges and 
fringe of poor houses and shanties, and the ^^ Adelphi 
Arches" of evil name. It has now quite an air of state 
and magnificence. 

The Embankment itself was a prodigious change from 
sedgy shore and ^ slob " land ; but the change on the Em- 
bankment itself within a few years has been something ex- 
traordinary. Great terraces, vast rows of mansions are 
rising along its banks, and impress us with a sense of state 
and splendour. Within half a mile or so we have the rich 
and original Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge, 
the New Post Offices, the enormous terrace of Whitehall 
Mansions, the National Liberal Club, the great Hotel 
Metropole, the Charing Cross Bridge, the Adelphi Terrace, 

and the superb Waterloo Bridge. Strange to say, the 



other side of the river is old London ^1, mean ware- 
houses and shanties disfiguring the shore. 

Then we come to Cleopatra's Needle, with its odd and 
romantic adventures. As we stop to look, its extraordinary 
history rises before us. It is certainly one of the oldest 
monuments existing, after its long sleep in the sands ; its 
being made a present to the English, and left neglected be- 
cause impossible or difficult to remove. As all know, it 
was brought here by Sir Erasmus Wilson, was cast ofF and 
lost in a storm, recovered again, and finally happily moored 
off the Embankment. Here, by some elaborate pneumatic 
operations that consumed months, it was successfully raised. 
It may be said that the ^^ fitting up " of the obelisk has 
been done inartistically, the plinth, base, etc., being of the 
modern fashion, and rather out of keeping. 

But the great glory of our river is Waterloo Bridge. 
This remarkable monument deserved Canova's praise, who 
declared that ^^ it was worthy of the Romans." It is really 
more a roadway than a bridge, and grandly and loftily is it 
carried through the air, the approaches being made to suit 
it, a reversal of the common operation. 

This noble structure spans the river with the dignity of 
an aqueduct. It is really a fine, impressive work, such as 
could hardly be conceived in our time. There is no grace- 
ful bend as in ordinaiy bridges ; it is a stately, straight road 
carried across the broad river. No wonder it has excited 
the admiration of foreigners, and a French critic has spoken 
with rapture almost of its merits. Here are his words: 
^^ If in the course of Revolutions, the nations of a future 
age should one day demand where was formerly the new 
Sidon, and what has become of the Tyre of the West, 
which covered with her vessels the sea, most of the edifices 
devoured by a destructive climate will no loiter exist ; but 

' . ^ .. ... L 1 > * I r> 1 



the Waterloo Bridge will exist to tell remote generations 
^ here was a rich and powerful city.* The traveller on be- 
holding this superb monument will suppose that some great 
Prime Minister wished by many years of labour to con- 
secrate for ever the story of his life by this imposing 
structure. But if tradition instruct the traveller that six 
years sufficed for the undertaking, that an association of 
private individuals was rich enough to defray the expense 
of this colossal monument, worthy of Sesostris and the 
Caesars, he will admire still more the nation which prompted 
the work." 

The author of this eloquent passage did not know that a 
private company had expended over a million in their proj- 
ect and were fairly repaid their outlay ; but his admiration 
would have been increased had he foretasted that the work 
would have been finally purchased by the wealthy Metrop- 
olis, and presented as a free gift to the citizens. 

The Waterloo Bridge toll-gate now seems part of 
ancient history. Elderly people of a new generation will 
be saying to their children, ^^ I recollect when there was a 
turnstile here and toll-houses, and every cab was stopped 
to pay twopence," while a careless and ^^ superior" allu- 
sion in a leader might run, ^^ People will smile to think 
how those of the last generation, hurrying to catch the 
train, could have so calmly and patiently submitted to this 
importunate levy ! " The public, however, grew so deft 
and experienced that the traveller was always ready with 
his cash, while the toll-man, cooperating, handed out the 
proper change in a second. This he contrived by long * 
practice and a sense of touch, having a number of pockets, 
one for pennies, another for silver, etc. Many years ago 
Dickens was taken down the river of a night by the police, 
and heard from one of the toll-men some curious experi- 


ences concerning the suicides for which the bridge was then 
in high fashion. ^^ The Bridge/' as the toll-man informed 
him, was originally named the Strand Bridge, but had re- 
ceived its present name at the suggestion of the proprietors 
when Parliament resolved to vote three hundred thousand 
pounds for the erection of a monument in honour of the 
victory. Parliament took the hint," said Waterloo, with 
the least flavour of misanthropy, ^^ and saved the money." 
Of course the Duke of Wellington was the first passenger, 
and of course he paid his coin, and of course be preserved 
it ever more. 




FOPLE often lament that the old Cathedrals, both 
in England and abroad, are so crowded up, and in- 
crusted by mean buildings and streets ; but do they 
gain when these are cleared away ? One of the most 
picturesque glimpses of the Abbey is to be obtained from a 
point vis i vis to the Peers' entrance, near the equestrian 
statue. There is a perfect old-world charm over this little 
comer, at the end of which the great arched buttress of the 
Chapter House — a happy bit of restoration — shows itself. 
The air of repose and tranquillity is extraordinary. You 
would think you were in an old rural town. 

We are so familiar with the great Westminster group of 
buildings, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Hall, 
that we scarcely can appreciate the imposing magnificence 
of the site and disposition. But foreigners are often struck 
with astonishment and admiration at the vast elaborate 
workmanship and detail ; and certainly for a modern work 
the Parliament House is singularly successful in the effort 
to reproduce the old Gothic. Tlie irregularity and origi- 
nality of the treatment of the two towers, the ^che^ etc., is 
worthy of all praise. Of course faults may be detected, 
and it is said there is a monotony in the repetition of the 
panelling, which suggests wood-carving, as though wrought 
by machinery. When the plans were discussed, it was pro- 
posed to raise the platform on the river side to the full level 

of the ground in Palace Square, or rather to that of the 



Bridge, and this would certainly have had an imposing 
effect. But the difficulty was what to do with Westmin- 
ster Hall. There was an angry controversy between Pugin 
and Sir Charles Barry, and between those who represented 
them, as to their respective shares in the design, a point 
which the impartial spectator will have little difficulty in 
deciding. Pugin's spirit is to be recognized eveiywheie 
and in all the details, and it was impossible that so perva- 
ding an influence should not have its effect in the con- 
structive portions also. Barry's other works offer nothing 
like this — ^nothing so free or fanciful. The luxuriance of 
florid details is indeed extraordinary, and the lavish pro- 
fusion of ornament seems to belong to some gem of a 
private chapel rather than to the surfaces of so vast a 
building. But it is melancholy to note the evidence of 
decay, and this delicate tracery, though apparently preserving 
its shape and form is mouldering away. Any ^^under- 
cutting " in this climate is doomed. The general decay of 
the main stone-work which caused such alarm many years 
ago has happily been arrested \ a vast quantity of the de- 
cayed material has been cut out and renewed. But there 
is a constant repair going on, and little ^^ crow's nests " are 
to be always seen crusted round one or other of the deli- 
cate " finials." 

Some palpable mistakes, due to economy, can be detected 
at once. The intention of the architects in designing so 
long and so low a structure was to relieve it by the two 
Towers, which were to *' carry up " the eye — YxVit spires. j 
The great Victoria Tower, whose enormous proportions 
can only be appreciated when we are close to it, seems as 
vast and massive as the Tower of the Town Hall at Ypres 
— ^that wonder of the world. Yet the whole idea of its 
imposing height has been sacrificed : it is indeed difficult to 

'. ' * 


believe that it is as high as the dome of St. Paul's. As 
Fergusson says ^ the Victoria Tower partly dwarfs the por- 
tion of the building near it. Yet in the original design it 
was intended to be six stories in height, which increase 
would have lessened the sense of breadth, making it more 
airy. Unfortunately the architect had the weakness of often 
changing his original purpose, consequently the entrance, 
instead of being only of the height of two stories of the 
building as at first proposed, now runs through and makes 
the adjacent House of Lords ridiculous. If the size of the 
gate is appropriate, the Lords are pigmies. Worse than 
this, at the back of the great arch is a little one, one fourth 
its height through which everything must pass. The 
counterpart of all this is the House, which looks much 
smaller than it really is." 

The fact is, that when the Tower was approaching com- 
pletion the House of Commons in a fit of economy, inter- 
posed and refused to allow it to be carried its proper height. 
It is now therefore some thirty or forty feet too short. Its 
proportions seem clumsy and stinted, and it is really un- 
pleasant to contemplate. The ^iche that rises from the 
centre of the building is really beautiful and elegant, cover- 
ing (which few would suspect) the great central Hajl, and, 
with these various towers and spires forms a charming as- 
semblage, to which the Abbey unhappily does not con- 
tribute, for its central tower ought to be furnished with a 
Jlicbey or an octagonal lantern, like the one at St. Guen 
at Rouen. Wren, it is known, prepared a design, which 
however was laid aside. 

As we look up at the Clock Tower, it suggests some 
curious recollections — first, associated with the ^^ Big Ben '* 
within, which has its history. Few may recollect that it 
was so named after Sir Benjamin Hall, then Commissioner 


of Works. Unnoticed too, perhaps, by the incurious is 
the fact that ^^ Big Ben " has long been cracked, but has 
done his work effectively for years. Yet the hoarse, rather 
jarring tone betrays this damage hourly. Foigotten also 
that it was designed by a bell amateur, Mr. Becket Deni- 
son, and that there was a controversy and discussion which 
long raged fiercely about the bell. It could not be even 
settled what note it uttered. It is astonishing to think that 
the large hand of the clock is over fourteen feet long. 
From the elaborate open-work character of the ^^cap,^ 
or head of the clock-tower, as well as from its function of 
holding a number of bells large and small, for which there 
is no room save in the body of the tower itself, it was in- 
tended that the whole should be pierced, and have an airy, 
open treatment like a church spire. This was actually the 
architect's design, as' will be seen fro^m the slits that run all 
the way up. These, however, he was forced to ^^ glaze," 
and fill in with windows, which gives the whole a heavy, 
clumsy air, instead of a lightness and elegance. The sys- 
tem of lighting the dials is elaborate, and the cost enor- 
mous. Tliere is quite a fire-chamber behind. Offenders 
against Parliamentary discipline have been consigned to the 
Clock Tower for custody ; and, as may be imagined, the 
chief portion of their suiFerings, night and day, must have 
been the alarming booming of the bells, which were quite 
close to their ears. 

The great embarrassment for the architect of the Houses 
of Parliament was Westminster Hall, which stood in the 
way and seemed really irreconcilable. If left detached, 
with a space between it and the new building, there would 
be little room for the latter between it and the river; if 


combined with it, it was incongruous, being of a totally 
different style. Tlie latter course was adopted, and it was 


turned into a sort of vestibule or entrance hall to the two 
Houses. On aesthetic grounds this was a blunder, for it 
has lost its significance as a separate work, and has always 
been in protest, as it were, against its degradation. From 
the outside every one may conclude that here are two dis- 
tinct buildings, yet on entering it is found to be merely a 
passage or approach for the other. Barry was so sensible 
of this that he determined to hide or screen it altogether, 
and he left designs for a building to be carried in front, and 
which was to go round the whole yard. There was to be 
a grand imposing tower, with arched entrance gate at the 
comer, facing Parliament Street. This costly scheme was 
never carried out, and instead, the Hall has been taken in 
hand by Mr. Pearson, fitted with a cloister and buttress, 
battlements, etc., after his own style. This of course only 
imparts a more general discrepancy, for its general plainness 
and rudeness of treatment make the details of the new 
building appear trivial ; while in return their minuteness 
and delicacy causes the Westminster Hall to appear yet 
more rude and rough. 

What shall be said of the magnificent interior of the 
Hall, its unique open and bewildering roof, a marvel of 
construction, with its history and traditions and trials ? But 
it is curious, as we walk through it, to see how completely 
the effect has been destroyed. By opening out the end and 
adding ascending steps, with a passage beyond, its purpose 
has been changed, and the sense of space and size abol- 
ished. You merely pass through it, instead of entering it 
and staying there. It is no longer a great chamber. 
There is a handsome stained glass window seen beyond, of 
the style called ^^Perpendicular," a portion of which, 
strange to say, is cut off by the beams of the roof. It was, 
however, Barry's intention to raise the roof all through by 


hydraulic machineiy — an intention that never will be car- 
ried out, and so the blunder or eyesore remains. 

It is curious what uncertainty exists as to the roof of diis 
fine Hall. It is generally supposed to be made of Irish 
oak, as stated by Macaulay in his account of the trial of 
Warren Hastings. Others maintain that it is of Nor* 
mandy ehestnut, others again that the roof alone is of 
chestnut and the ribs of oak. 

Every one is familiar with the two Chambers, with their 
fine and gorgeous decorations, enriched brass and iron 
work, carvings, paintings, etc. The House of Commons 
originally had an elegant open roof, elaborate to a degree, 
and furnishing the leading ^^ note '* of the chamber. It was 
found at once that the speeches were inaudible, and the 
architect was allotted the ungrateful office of destroying his 
own work — having to set up a flat panelled ceiling many 
feet below his tracery and Gothic work. This has an- 
swered perfectly, and the space between is utilized for 
lighting purposes. It may be added that when it was de- 
termined not to proceed further with Barry's designs, the 
Palace was completed by his son, a low colonnade being 
added, the ornamental details of the Clock Tower being 
continued to the ground. The grilks and railings which 
were also added seem like the colonnade, but have not the 
same elegance as the building, and otkr a difllerent treat- 

The Gothic clock-face caused the architect a vast deal 
of thought, and it was only after many experiments that 
the existing mode of attaching it to the tower was devised. 
It is considered very successful. Prince Albert, it is said, 
insisted that the whole upper portion should be of metal. 
The tower ha?, within the last few years, been turned into 
a sort of beacon or gigantic lamp-post — not, indeed, to give 


light or a warning of danger — ^but to announce to whom it 
may concern that. the House is not up. This acts as a per- 
nicious schoolmaster, and insensibly preaches what is mean 
and degrading. The tower was a useful and faithful 
servant, ^ Big Ben " booming out — albeit a little hoarse and 
cracked — the hours by day, the huge illuminated dial telling 
the hour by night. But a gap was made in the fretwork 
over the dial, and an ugly semicircular lantern thrust out, 
which gives out a fierce glare while the House is sitting. 
The handsome Clock Tower is now present to our minds 
as a sort of gigantic candlestick, with the associations of 
smoke, fierce heat, flare, and glare. The light is not hung 
out from the tower beaconwise, but the tower itself is the 



When I behold^ with deep astonishmentf 
To famous Westminster how there resorte. 
Living in brasse or stony monument. 
The princes and the worthies of all sorte ; 
Doe not I see reformde nobilitie. 
Without contempt, or pride, or ostentation. 
And looke upon ofienseless majesty. 
Naked of pomp or earthly domination ? 
And how a play-game of a painted stone 
Contents the quiet now and silent sprites, 
Whome all the world which late they stood upon. 
Could not content nor quench their appetites. 
Life is a frost of cold felicitie. 
And death the thaw of all our vanitie. 

Christokro^s Epigrams^ by T. B., 1 598. 

ON one of those sober and rather melancholy days, 
in the latter part of autumn, when the shadows 
of morning and evening almost mingle together, 
and throw a gloom over the decline of the year, I passed 
several hours in rambling about Westminster Abbey. There 
was something congenial to the season in the mournful 
magnificence of the old pile ; and as I passed its threshold, 
it seemed like stepping back into the regions of antiquity, 
and losing myself among the shades of former ages. 

I entered from the inner court of Westminster school, 

through a long, low, vaulted passage, that had an almost 


•/ vn^ K" 

( •. 

1 . 


subterranean look, being dimly lighted in one part by cir- 
cular perforations in the massive walls. Through this dark 
avenue I had a distant view of the cloisters, with the figure 
of an old veiger, in his black gown, moving along their 
shadowy vaults, and seeming like a spectre from one of the 
neighbouring tombs. The approach to the abbey through 
these gloomy monastic remains prepares the mind for its 
solemn contemplation. The cloisters still retain something 
of the quiet and seclusion of former days. The grey walls 
are discoloured by damps, and crumbling with age ; a coat 
of hoary moss has gathered over the inscriptions of the 
mural monuments, and obscured the death's heads, and 
other funeral emblems. The sharp touches of the chisel 
are gone from the rich traceiy of the arches; the roses 
which adorned the key-stones have lost their leafy beauty ; 
everything bears marks of the gradual dilapidations of time, 
which yet has something touching and pleasing in its veiy 

The sun was pouring down a yellow autumnal ray into 
the square of the cloisters ; beaming upon a scanty plot of 
grass in the centre, and lighting up an angle of the vaulted 
passage with a kind of dusty splendour. From between 
the arcades, the eye glanced up to a bit of blue sky, or a 
passing cloud; and beheld the sun-gilt pinnacles of the 
abbey towering into the azure heaven. 

As I paced the cloisters, sometimes contemplating this 
mingled picture of glory and decay, and sometimes en- 
deavouring to decipher the inscriptions on the tombstones, 
which formed the pavement beneath my feet, my eyes were 
attracted to three figures, rudely carved in relief, but nearly 
worn away by the footsteps of many generations. They 
were the effigies of three of the early abbots ; the epitaphs 
were entirely effaced ; the names alone remained, having no 


doubt been renewed in later times; (Vitalis. Abbas. 1082, 
and Gislebertus Crispinus. Abbas. 11 14, and Laurentius. 
Abbas. 1 176.) I remained some little while, musing over 
these casual relics of antiquity, thus left like wrecks upon 
this distant shore of time, telling no tale but that such 
beings had been and had perished ; teaching no moral but 
the futility of that pride which hopes still to exact homage 
in its ashes, and to live in an inscription. A little longer, 
and even these faint records will be obliterated, and the 
monument will cease to be a memorial. Whilst I was yet 
looking down upon the gravestones, I was roused by the 
sound of the abbey clock, reverberating from buttress to 
buttress, and echoing among the cloisters. It is almost 
startling to hear this warning of departed time sounding 
among the tombs, and telling the lapse of the hour, which, 
like a billow, has rolled us onward towards the grave. 

I pursued my walk to an arched door opening to the in- 
terior of the abbey. On entering here, the magnitude of 
the building breaks fully upon the mind, contrasted with 
the vaults of the cloisters. The eye gazes with wonder at 
clustered columns of gigantic dimensions, with arches 
springing from them to such an amazing height ; and man 
wandering about their bases, shrunk into insignificance in 
comparison with his own handiwork. The spaciousness 
and gloom of this vast edifice produce a profound and mys- 
terious awe. We step cautiously and softly about, as if 
fearful of disturbing the hallowed silence of the tomb; 
while eveiy footfall whispers along the walls, and chatters 
among the sepulchres, making us more sensible of the quiet 
we have interrupted. 

It seems as if the awful nature of the place presses down 
upon the soul, and hushes the beholder into noiseless rever- 
ence. We feel that we are surrounded by the congregated 


bones of the great men of past times, who have filled history 
with their deeds, and the earth with their renown. 

And yet it almost provokes a smile at the vanity of 
human ambition, to see how they are crowded together, and 
justled in the dust ; what parsimony is observed in doling 
out a scanty nook, a gloomy corner, a little portion of earth, 
to those whom, when alive, kingdoms could not satisfy j 
and how many shapes, and forms, and artifices, are devised 
to catch the casual notice of the passenger, and save from 
tbi]getfulness, for a few short years, a name which once 
aspired to occupy ages of the world's thought and ad- 

I passed some time in Poet's Corner, which occupies an 
end of one of the transepts or cross aisles of the abbey. 
The monuments are generally simple j for the lives of 
literary men afford no striking themes for the sculptor. 
Shakespeare and Addison have statues erected to their 
memories ; but the greater part have busts, medallions, and 
sometimes mere inscriptions. Notwithstanding the simplic- 
ity of these memorials, I have always observed that the 
visitors to the abbey remain longest about them. A kinder 
and fonder feeling takes place of that cold curiosity or 
vague admiration with which they gaze on the splendid 
monuments of the great and the heroic. They linger 
about these as about the tombs of friends and companions ; 
for indeed there is something of companionship between 
the author and the reader. Other men are known to 
posterity only through the medium of history, which is con- 
tinually growing faint and obscure -9 but the intercourse be- 
tween the author and his fellow-men is ever new, active, and 
immediate. He has lived for them more than for himself; 
he has sacrificed surrounding enjoyments, and shut himself 
up from the delig;ht8 of social life, that he might the more 


intimately commune with distant minds and distant ages. 
Well may the world cherish his renown ; for it has been pur- 
chased, not by deeds of violence and blood, but by the diligent 
dispensation of pleasure. Well may posterity be grateful to 
his memory i for he has left it an inheritance, not of empty 
names and sounding actions, but whole treasures of wis- 
dom, bright gems of thought, and golden veins of language. 

From Poet's Corner I continued my stroll towards that 
part of the abbey which contains the sepulchres of the 
kings. I wandered among what once were chapels, but 
which are now occupied by the tombs and monuments of 
the great. At every turn, I met with some illustrious 
name, or the cognizance of some powerful house renowned 
in history. As the eye darts into these dusky chambers of 
death, it catches glimpses of quaint effigies: some kneeling 
in niches, as if in devotion; others stretched upon the 
tombs, with hands piously pressed together; warriors in 
armour, as if reposing after battle ; prelates, with crosiers 
and mitres ; and nobles in robes and coronets, lying as it 
were in state. In glancing over this scene, so strangely 
populous, yet where every form is so still and silent, it 
seems almost as if we were treading a mansion of that 
fabled city, where every being had been suddenly trans- 
muted into stone. 

I paused to contemplate a tomb on which lay the effigy 
of a knight in complete armour. A large buckler was on 
one arm ; the hands were pressed together in supplication 
upon the breast; the face was almost covered by the 
morion; the legs were crossed in token of the warrior's 
having been engaged in the holy war. It was the tomb of 
a crusader; of one of those military enthusiasts, who so 
strangely mingled religion and romance, and whose exploits 
form the connecting link between fact and fiction — ^between 


the history and the faiiy tale. There is something ex- 
tremely picturesque in the tombs of these adventurers, 
decorated as they are with rude armorial bearings and 
Gothic sculpture. They comport with the antiquated 
chapels in which they are generally found ; and in consider- 
ing them, the imagination is apt to kindle with the legendary 
associations, the romantic fiction, the chivalrous pomp and 
pageantry, which poetry has spread over the wars for the 
Sepulchre of Christ. They are the relics of times utterly 
gone by ; of beings passed from recollection ; of customs 
and manners with which ours have no affinity. They are 
like objects from some strange and distant land, of which 
we have no certain knowledge, and about which all our 
conceptions are vague and visionary. There is something 
extremely solemn and awful in those effigies on Gothic 
tombs, extended as if in the sleep of death, or in the sup- 
plication of the dying hour. They have an effect infinitely 
more impressive on my feelings than the fanciful attitudes, 
the overwrought conceits, and allegorical groups, which 
abound on modern monuments. I have been struck, also, 
with the superiority of many of the old sepulchral in- 
scriptions. There was a noble way, in former times, of 
saying things simply, and yet saying them proudly : and I 
do not know an epitaph that breathes a loftier conscious- 
ness of family worth and honourable lineage, than one 
which affirms, of a noble house, that ^^ all the brothers were 
brave, and all the sisters virtuous." 

While wandering about these gloomy vaults and silent 
aisles, studying the records of the dead, the sound of busy 
existence from without occasionally reaches the ear; — the 
rumbling of the passing equipage; the murmur of the 
multitude ; or perhaps the light laugh of pleasure. The 
contrast is striking with the death-like repose around ; and 


it has a strange effect upon the feelings^ thus to hear the 
suiges of active life hunying along and beating against the 
veiy walls of the sepulchre. 

I continued in this way to move from tomb to tomb, and 
from chapel to chapel. The day was gradually wearing 
away ; the distant tread of loiterers about the abbey grew 
less and less frequent ; the sweet-tongued bell was sum- 
moning to evening prayers ; and I saw at a distance the 
choristers, in their white surplices, crossing the aisle and 
entering the choir. I stood before the entrance to Heniy 
the Seventh's chapel. A flight of steps leads up to it, 
through a deep and gloomy, but magnificent arch. Great 
gates of brass, richly and delicately wrought, turn heavily 
upon their hinges, as if proudly reluctant to admit the feet 
of common mortals into this most gorgeous of sepulchres. 

On entering, the eye is astonished by the pomp of arch- 
itecture, and the elaborate beauty of sculptured detail. 
The veiy walls are wrought into universal ornament, en- 
crusted with tracery, and scooped into niches, crowded 
with the statues of saints and martyrs. Stone seems, by 
the cunning labour of the chisel, to have been robbed of its 
weight and density, suspended aloft, as if by magic, and 
the fretted roof achieved with the wonderful minuteness 
and airy security of a cobweb. 

Along the sides of the chapel are the lofty stalls of the 
Knights of the Bath, richly carved of oak, though with the 
grotesque decorations of Gothic architecture. On the pin- 
nacles of the stalls are affixed the helmets and crests of the 
knights, with their scarfs and swords ; and above them are 
suspended their banners, emblazoned with armorial bear- 
ings, and contrasting the splendour of gold and purple and 
crimson, with the cold grey fretwork of the roof. In the 
midst of this grand mausoleuai Qtand^ the sepulchre of its 


founder, — ^his effigy, with that of his queen, extended on a 
sumptuous tomb, and the whole surrounded by a superbly 
wrought brazen railing. 

There is a sad dreariness in this magnificence; this 
strange mixture of tombs and trophies ; these emblems of 
living and aspiring ambition, close beside mementos which 
show the dust and oblivion in which all must sooner or later 
terminate. Nothing impresses the mind with a deeper feel- 
ing of loneliness, than to tread the silent and deserted scene / 
of former throng and pageant. On looking round on the^ 
vacant stalls of the knights and their esquires, and on the 
rows of dusty but goigeous banners that were once borne 
before them, my imagination conjured up the scene when 
this hall was bright with the valour and beauty of the land ; 
glittering with the splendour of jewelled rank and military 
array ; alive with the tread of many feet, and the hum of 
an admiring multitude. All had passed away ; the silence 
of death had settled again upon the place ; interrupted only 
by the casual chirping of birds, which had found their way 
into the chapel, and built their nests among its friezes and 
pendants — sure signs of solitariness and desertion. When 
I read the names inscribed on the banners, they were those 
of men scattered far and wide about the world ; some toss- 
ing upon distant seas } some under arms in distant lands ; 
some mingling in the busy intrigues of courts and cabinets : 
all seeking to deserve one more distinction in this mansion 
of shadowy honours — the melancholy reward of a monu- \y/ 

Two snudl aisles on each side of this chapel present a 
touching instance of the equality of the grave, which brings 
down the oppressor to a level with the oppressed, and 
mingles the dust of the bitterest enemies together. In one 
is the sepulchre of the haughty Elizabeth \ in the other is 

228 LONlX)N 

that of her victim, the lovely and unfortunate Mary. Not 
an hour in the day, but some ejaculation of pity is uttered 
over the fate of the latter, mingled with indignation at her 
oppressor. The walls of Elizabeth's sepulchre continually 
echo with the sighs of sympathy heaved at the grave of her 

A peculiar melancholy reigns over the aisle where Maiy 
lies buried. The light struggles dimly through windows 
darkened by dust. The greater part of the place is in deep 
shadow, and the walls are stained and tinted by time and 
weather. A marble figure of Mary is stretched upon the 
tomb, round which is an iron railing, much corroded, bear- 
ing her national emblem — the thistle. I was weary with 
wandering, and sat down to rest myself by the monument, 
revolving in my mind the chequered and disastrous story of 
poor Mary. 

The sound of casual footsteps had ceased from the abbey. 
I could only hear, now and then, the distant voice of the 
priest repeating the evening service, and the faint responses 
of the choir ; these paused for a time, and all was hushed. 
The stillness, the desertion and obscurity that were gradu- 
ally prevailing around, gave a deeper and more solemn in- 
terest to the place : 

For in the silent grave no conversttion. 
No joyfiil tread of friends^ no voice of lovers. 
No careful father's counsel — ^Dothing's heard. 
For nothing is, but all oblivion. 
Dust, and an endless darkness. 

Suddenly the notes of the deep-labouring oigan burst 
upon the ear, falling with doubled and redoubled intensity, 
and rolling, as it were, huge billows of sound. How well 
do their volume and grandeur accord with this mighty build- 


ing! With what pomp do they swell through its vast 
vaults, and breathe their awful harmony through these caves 
of death, and make the silent sepulchre vocal ! — And now 
they rise in triumphant acclamation, heaving higher and 
higher their accordant notes, and piling sound on sound. — 
And now they pause, and the soft voices of the choir break 
out into sweet gushes of melody; they soar aloft, and 
warble along the roof, and seem to play about these lofty 
vaults like the pure airs of heaven. Again the pealing 
oigan heaves its thrilling thunders, compressing air into 
music, and rolling it forth upon the soul. What long- 
drawn cadences ! What solemn sweeping concords ! It 
grows more and more dense and powerful — it fills the vast 
pile, and seems to jar the very walls — ^the ear is stunned-i- 
the senses are overwhelmed. And now it is winding up in 
full jubilee — ^it is rising from the earth to heaven — the very 
soul seems rapt away, and floated upwards on this swelling 
tide of harmony ! 

I sat for some time lost in that kind of reverie which a 
strain of music is apt sometimes to inspire : the shadows 
of evening were gradually thickening around me; the 
monuments began to cast deeper and deeper gloom ; and 
the distant clock again gave token of the slowly waning 

I arose, and prepared to leave the abbey. As I descended 
the flight of steps which lead into the body of the building, 
my eye was caught by the shrine of Edward the Confessor, 
and I ascended the small staircase that conducts to it, to 
take from thence a general survey of this wilderness of 
tombs. The shrine is elevated upon a kind of platform, 
and close around it are the sepulchres of various kings and 
queens. From this eminence the eye looks down between 
pillars and funeral trophies to the chapels and chambers be* 


low, crowded with tombs ; where warriors, prelates, cour- 
tiers, and statesmen, lie mouldering in ^^ their beds of dark- 
ness/' Close by me stood the great chair of coronation, 
rudely carved of oak, in the barbarous taste of a remote 
and Gothic age. The scene seemed almost as if contrived, 
with theatrical artifice, to produce an eiFect upon the be- 
holder. Here was a type of .the beginning and the end of 
human pomp and power ; here it was literally but a step 
from the throne to the sepulchre. Would not one think 
that these incongruous mementos had been gathered to- 
gether as a lesson to living greatness ? — ^to show it, even in 
the moment of its proudest exaltation, the neglect and dis- 
honour to which it must soon arrive ? how soon that crown 
which encircles its brow must pass away ; and it must lie 
down in the dust and disgraces of the tomb, and be trampled 
upon by the feet of the meanest of the multitude ? For, 
strange to tell, even the grave is here no longer a sanctuary. 
There is a shocking levity in some natures, which leads 
them to sport with awful and hallowed things ; and there 
are base minds, which delight to revenge on the illustrious 
dead the abject homage and grovelling servility which they 
pay to the living. The coffin of Edward the Confessor 
has been broken open, and his remains despoiled of their 
funeral ornaments ; the sceptre has been stolen from the 
hand of the imperious Elizabeth, and the effigy of Henry 
the Fifth lies headless. Not a royal monument but bears 
some proof how false and fugitive is the homage of man- 
kind. Some are plundered ; some mutilated ; some covered 
with ribaldry and insult — all more or less outraged and dis- 
honoured ! 

The last beams of day were now faintly streaming 
through the painted windows in the high vaults above me: 
the lower parts of the abbey were already wrapped in the 


obscurity of twilight. The chapels and aisles grew darker 
and darker. The effigies of the kings faded into shadows ; 
the marble figures of the monuments assumed strange 
shapes in the uncertain light j the evening breeze crept 
through the aisles like the cold breath of the grave ; and 
even the distant footfall of a verger, traversing the Poet's 
Comer, had something strange and dreary in its sound. I 
slowly retraced my morning's walk, and as I passed out at 
the portal of the cloisters, the door, closing with a jarring 
noise behind me, filled the whole building with echoes. 



THE Palace of Whitehall was originally built by Sir 
Hubert de Buigh, Earl of Kent, in the reign of 
Henry III., and was, at his death, bequeathed by 
him to the Convent of Black Friars, in Holborn. In 1248, 
that body disposed of it to Walter de Grey the Archbishop 
of York, and it was inhabited by the prelates of that see 
until the time of Wolsey, and was called Tork House. It 
was almost entirely reconstructed by the luxurious cardinal, 
who dwelt here for some years, in a style of splendour to 
which churchman had never ytt aspired. ^^ Here,** writes 
Mr. Jesse, ^^ he accumulated his vast libraries and exquisite 
picture galleries. The walls of his apartments were 
covered with hangings of cloth-of-gold and tissue, and his 
tables with velvets, satins, and damasks of various hues. 
The great gallery is described as a scene of unparalleled 
magnificence ; and in two other apartments, known as the 
Gilt and Council Chambers, two large tables were covered 
with plate of solid gold, many of them studded with pearis 
and precious stones. The household of this haughty 
churchman consisted of 800 persons, many of whom were 
knights and noblemen. These numerous retainers were 
clad in the most magnificent liveries ; even the master-cook 
of the cardinal was dressed in velvet and satin, and wore 
a chain of gold round his neck. Wolsey was the first 
clergyman in England who wore silk and gold, and this not 

only on his person, but on the saddles and trappings of his 



horses. As a priest, he rode on a mule, the trappings of 
which were of crimson velvet and the stirrups of silver, 
gilt." In December, 1529, when this proud ecclesiastic 
fell into disgrace with his royal master, he surrendered his 
palace into the hands of Henry ; soon after which, the 
name of York House was prohibited, and that of White- 
hall substituted in its stead. Whitehall was much enlaiged 
by Henry VIII. He bought and enclosed the ground now 
called St. James's Park, and formed a tennis-couit, cock- 
pit, and bowling-green, the site of which are now indicated 
by the Treasury offices. He also erected a gallery over- 
looking the tilt-yard on the spot, now partially covered by 
the Horse Guards and Dover House. These structures 
were joined to the old palace by a noble gateway and arch, 
designed by Holbein. The gate was removed a century 
back to facilitate the widening of the street. At this 
palace, in January, 1533, Henry was privately married to 
Anne Boleyn ; and in January, 1548, that tyrant expired 
here, having, only a few days before, sent that accomplished 
gentleman and poet, the Earl of Surrey, to the scaffold. 
Queen Elizabeth kept the first Christmas after her succes- 
sion in Whitehall, which became one of her most favoured 
residences. Her successor, James I., also held his court 
here, and the pageantry for which, during the last reign, 
Whitehall had been celebrated, continued to prevail. The 
present Banquiting Housfj which is the work of Inigo 
Jones, was erected by James I. It was originally contem- 
plated to extend it 1,150 feet along the bank of the Thames, 
and to the same distance in front of the present street of 
Whitehall. The extravagant habits of James I., and the 
civil war which disturbed the reign of his successor, pre- 
vented the completion of this design. The Banqueting 
House was begun in 16 19, and finished in about two years, 


at an outlay of ;^i 7,000. It is a stone edifice of two 
stories, ornamented with columns and pilasters. The 
splendid room, in which James L held his fetes — ^where 
Charles I. so often dined in state with his queen — ^where 
Cromwell gave an entertainment to a puritanical parliament 
— and where Charles II. loved to exhibit himself in the 
dance — is now converted into a chapel, founded by GeoK]g;e 
I., where service is performed morning and evening. On 
the accession of Charles I., Whitehall presented scenes of 
unwonted taste and magnificence. Masques were frequently 
performed here, Jonson being the laureate, and Inigo Jones 
the artist. Not only was Whitehall celebrated for the high 
character of its entertainments, but it became famous as a 
palace of hospitality, eighty-six tables, well supplied, being 
laid out daily. In an old work, entitled, ^^The Present 
State of London," and dated 1681, we find that ^^the king's 
servants being men of quality, by his majesty's special 
order, went to Westminster Hall in Term time, to invite 
gentlemen to eat of the king's viands ; and in Parliament 
time, to. invite the parliament's men thereto." The pic- 
ture gallery in this palace was deservedly famous, for it in- 
cluded twenty-eight paintings by Titian, eleven by Correggio, 
sixteen by Julio Romano, nine by Raphael, seven by 
Parmigiano, besides several of the chifs^* ceuvre of 
Rubens and Vandyke. But a more dismal history attaches 
to Whitehall, which is now chiefly associated with the 
commission of a national tragedy, reflecting dishonour on 
the memory of its perpetrators, and which no expedient 
could justify, no after-repentance atone for. The Banquet- 
ing House, so often the scene of gaiety and of domestic enjoy- 
ment, was the room whence Charles I. passed, through a 
passage broken in the wall, to the block. The scaffold was 
erected in the centre of the building, between the upper 


and lower window, in the open street before Whitehall. 
Cromwell afterw^ards became the occupant of the palace, 
where he died in 1658. Richard Cromwell was the next 
tenant, but his residence was brief; and a few days after he 
resigned the Protectorship, Whitehall was besieged by 
bailifFs and writ-servers, anxious to pounce upon the im- 
prudent ex-Protector. In 1660, Charles II. went to 
Whitehall, and under his sanction all its former revelries 
were renewed. The old palace, in the time of the 
^ Merry Monarch," was of an immense size and magnifi- 
cence. It stretched along the river, and in front along the 
present Parliament and Whitehall Streets, as far as Scotland 
Yard, and on the other side of those streets, to the turning 
into Spring Gardens, beyond the Admiralty, looking into St. 
James's Park. The king, his queen, his royal brother. 
Prince Rupert, the Duke of Monmouth, the great officers, 
and all the courtly train, had their lodgings within these 
walls ; and all the royal family had their different offices, 
such as kitchens, cellars, pantries, spiceries, cider-house, 
bake-house, wash-yards, coal-yards, and slaughter-houses. 
The public stairs, or water entrance, to the palace, still re- 
main on the spot where they existed in the time of Wolsey. 
Charles II. died in this palace, of apoplexy in February, 
1685, ^^^^ ^ ^^T sb^'^ indisposition, and not without 
suspicion of having been unfairly dealt by. Six days be- 
fore his death, he was in his usual health. Evelyn, writing 
the day after this event, thus records what he had witnessed 
in the royal apartments of Whitehall so soon before the 
closing scene of the king's career. ^^ I could never for- 
get," said he, ^^ the inexpressible luxury and profaneness, 
gaming and all dissoluteness, and as it were total forgetful- 
ness of God (it being Sunday evening), which this day 
se'enight I was witness of; the king sitting and toying 


with his favourites, Portsmouth, Cleveland, Mazarine, etc. ; 
a French boy singing love songs in that glorious gallery ; 
whilst about twenty of the great courtiers and other dis- 
solute persons were at bassett round a large table, a bank of 
at least ;^2,ooo in gold before them, upon which two gen- 
tlemen, who were with me, held up their hands with as- 
tonishment. Six days after, all was in the dust ! " In 
December, 1688, James II. and his queen left the royal 
dwelling and the kingdom for ever. In the following 
February, William III. and Queen Mary became occupants 
of the palace, abandoned by the Stuarts. But the glory of 
Whitehall was now upon the wane ; and between 1690 and 
1700, two destructive fires occurred by which the greater 
portion of this superb fabric was destroyed, the Banqueting 
House, that still remains, some offices, and the lodgings of 
a few of the nobility, being all that was saved from the 
general wreck. Besides the royal apartments, 150 dwell- 
ings, tenanted by the court officials and others, were con- 
sumed, and twenty other houses were blown up with gun- 
powder, to prevent the conflagration spreading. The 
Banqueting House, as previously mentioned, is now an 
episcopal chapel, where the garrison at the Horse Guards 
attend every Sunday. 

The ground upon which the greater portion of the 
ancient palace stood, is covered by the district including 
Scotland Yard, Whitehall Place, Privy Gardens, Rich- 
mond Terrace, on the river side of the public street, and 
includes the mansions of the Duke of Bucdeuch, the Earl 
of Selkirk, and other members of the aristocracy. Privy 
Gardens consist of several elegant mansions behind the 
Banqueting House, divided from the nuun street by weU- 
planted shrubberies, and commanding in their rear a free 
view of the panoramic scenery of the riven 



LOOKING from that "coign of vantage/' the 
portico of the National Gallery, upon what Peel 
called "the finest site in Europe," it is impossible 
not to think of its vicissitude. With the exception of St. 
Martin's Church, which is comparatively modern, the only 
antiquity now left to link the present with the past is the 
statue of Charles L, riding unhasting, unresting, to his 
former Palace of Westminster, and dating from a day when 
Trafalgar Square was but an irregular range of houses sur- 
rounding a royal mews. Only a quarter of a century ago 
stood in its vicinity an older relic still. If the stones that 
formed the fine Jacobean frontage of Northumberland 
House could have spoken, they would have pleaded that 
they knew of a remoter time when, in place of the royal 
martyr proclaiming from his pedestal, in Waller's turncoat 
line, that 

** Rebellion, thoagh successfiil, is but vain," 

had risen the time-honoured cross which marked the last 
halting-place of Queen Eleanor's body in its progress to 
the Abbey. The old Cross again had more ancient mem- 
ories than Northumberland House. It could recall a fal- 
conry — not unhaunted of a certain rhyming Clerk of Works 
called Geoffrey Chaucer — which was long anterior to the 
royal mews , and it remembered how — 



" Ere yet, in scorn of Peter's pence. 
And numbered bead and shrift. 
Bluff Hany broke into the spence 
And tum'd the cowls adrift," — 

the hospital of St. Mary Rounceval had preceded the great 
palace of the Percies. 

In any retrospect of Charing Cross, Queen Eleanor's 
monument forms a convenient starting point, and from 
Ralph Agas's well-known survey of 1592 we get a fair idea 
of its environment in the reign of Elizabeth. At this date 
there were, comparatively speaking, few buildings in its 
neighbourhood. On the river side indeed, houses straggled 
from the Strand towards Whitehall ; but St. Martin's was 
actually ^' in the fields," Spring Gardens was as open as 
^^ St. Jemes Parke," and where to-day stand Covent Garden 
and Her Majesty's Theatre, laundresses laid their clothes to 
dry. Along Hedge Lane, which began at the present 
Union Club and followed the line of Dorset Place and 
Whitcomb Street, you might, if so minded, carry your 
Corinna through green pastures to eat tarts at Hampstead 
or Highgate, passing, it may be, on the road. Master Ben 
Jonson from Hartshorne Lane (now Northumberland 
Street), unconscious for the moment of any other ^^ hu- 
mour " in life than the unlimited consumption of black- 
berries. By the windmill at St. Giles you might find him 
flying his kite, or (and why not, since the child is father to 
the man ?) displaying prematurely his '^ Roman infirmity " 
of boasting to his ragged playmates of the parish school. 

But to the sober antiquary the pleasures of imagination 
are forbidden ; and the Cross itself has yet to be described. 
Unfortunately, there are no really trustworthy representa- 
tions of it, and even its designer's name is uncertain. It 
was long ascribed to Pietro Cavallini, to whom tradition 

'/ V.' , 



^'■H^, I 



also attributes the monument of Henry III. in Westminster 
Abbey. What is undoubted, however, is that it was one 
of several similar crosses erected by the executors of Elea- 
nor of Castile ; that it was begun by one Richard de Crun- 
dale, citnentariusy and after his death continued by another 
of the family; and that its material came from Caen in 
Normandy, and Corfe in Dorsetshire. From Agas's map 
it seems to have been octagonal in shape with tiers of 
niches ; and it was decorated with paintings and gilt metal 
figures modelled by Alexander Le Imaginator. It stood 
from 1296 until, by vote of May the 3d, 1643, ^^ Long 
Parliament, in the same iconoclastic spirit which prompted 
the removal of the ^^ Golden Cross " sign as ^' superstitious 
and idolatrous," decreed its demolition. ^^The parlia- 
ment," says a contemporary Royalist ballad, still to be 
found in Percy's ReUques^ 

** * The parliament to vote it down 

Conceived it very fitting 
For fear it should fall, and kill them all. 

In the house as they were sitting. 
They were told, God-wot, it had a plot,* 

Which made them so hard-hearted. 
To give command, it should not stand. 

But be taken down and carted.' " 

Other verses bewail its disappearance as a familiar land- 
mark: — 

** Undone, undone, the lawyers afe. 
They wander about the towne. 
Nor can find the way to Westminster, 
Now Charing Cros is downe." 

1 This was Waller's plot of June, 1643, ^^ disann the London militia, 
etc., for which Tompkins and Chaloner were executed. 


As a matter of fact, it was not actually ^^ taken down and 
carted " till the summer of 1647. Part of its stones, says 
Charles's biographer, William Lilly, went to pave White- 
hall, and others were fashioned into knife-hafts, ^^ which, 
being well polished, looked like marble." Sic transit gbria 
Mundi ! 

Its site remained unoccupied for seven and twenty years. 
But here, in the interval, the regicides met their fate. 
Harrison, Cromwell's chaplain, Peters, John Jones, Carew, 
and others, all suffered ^' at the railed space where Charing 
Cross stood." Pepys, between an account of the wanton- 
ness of Mrs. Palmer and the episode of ^^ a very pretty 
lady " who cried out at the playhouse ^^ to see Desdemona 
smothered," has the following entry of Harrison's death, 
which he witnessed : — 13th [October, 1660]. I went out 
to Charing Cross to see Major-general Harrison hanged, 
drawn, and quartered ; which was done there, he looking 
as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. He was 
presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to the 
people, at which there were great shouts of joy. It is said, 
that he said that he was sure to come shortly at the right 
hand of Christ to judge them that now had judged him ; 
and that his wife do expect his coming again. Thus it was 
my chance to see the King beheaded at White Hall, and to 
see the first blood shed in revenge for the King at Charing 

From the overseer's books of St. Martin's, Mr. Peter 
Cunningham discovered entries of sums paid in 1666 and 
1667 by "Punchinello, y« Italian popet-player for his 
Booth at Charing Cross," and in 1668, there are similar 
records for the "playhouse" of a Mounsr. Devone. 
Then in 1674, the present " noble equestrian statue " as 
Walpole styles it, was erected, not too promptly, by 


Charles 11. . . . The pedestal, finally carved with 
cupids, palms, armour, and so forth, is attributed to Grin- 
ling Gibbons. Somewhere near it was the Pillory, where, 
every 10th of August, for several successive years, stood 
the infamous Titus Oates. Edmund Curll, too (upon the 
principle which makes Jack Sheppard one of the ^^ emi- 
nent '* persons buried in St. Martin's), was once its ^^ dis- 
tinguished occupant, for one of his scandalous publications ; 
and later Parsons of the Cock Lane Ghost suffered here 
those amenities so neatly described by Robert Lloyd in his 
EpistU to Churchill .'-^ 

'' Thus, should a woodeo collar deck 
Some woefall 'squire's embsrrass'd neck. 
When high above the crowd he stands 
With equidistant sprawling hands. 
And without hat, politely bare. 
Pops out his head to take the air ; 
The mob his kind acceptance begs. 
Of dirt, and stones, and addle-eggs." 

To the right of King Charles's statue, upon a site now 
traversed diagonally by Northumberland Avenue, stood, 
until 1874, the last of the great riverside mansions, North- 
umberland House. Its fa9ade extended from the statue 
towards Northumberland Street, and its gardens went back 
to Scotland Yard, into which it had a gate. Northampton 
House, as it was first called, was built about 1605, for 
Henry Howard, Earl of Northampton, by Bernard Jansen 
and Gerard Christmas — Christmas, it is supposed, being re- 
sponsible for the florid gateway or " frontispiece." From 
the Earl of Northampton it passed to the Suffblks, and 
changed its name to SuflFolk House, a name which it 


retained until 1670, when becoming the property of the 
Percies it was again rcchristened. 

Towards 1829-30 the neighbourhood of Charing Cross 
began to assume something of its present aspect. Already 
four years earlier, the Collie of Physicians, leaving its 
home in Warwick Lane, had taken up its abode in a hand- 
some building at the bottom of Dorset Place, close by the 
newly-erected Union Club. Then, about 1830, the ground 
was cleared for Trafalgar Square, and the C*ribbee Islands 
and the rookeries were ^^ blotted from the things that be.'* 
In 1832, the present National Gallery was begun. Nelson's 
Column followed in 1840-9, and then, many years after, 
was finally completed by the addition of Landseer's lions. 
Since the National Gallery first became the laughing-stock 
of cockneys, it has been more than once enlarged ; and 
even at the present moment further extensions at the back, 
of considerable importance to the picture-seer are said to be 
in contemplation. But it is needless to dwell at any length 
upon the present aspect of the place. It is too modem for 
the uses of the antiquary ; and it may be doubted if time 
can ever make it venerable. 



THE most interesting approach to the City of Lon- 
don is by that which leads to it from Charing 
Cross — the great highway of the Strand, ^^ down 
which the tide of labour flows daily to the City," and 
where Charles Lamb says that he ^* often shed tears for ful- 
ness of joy at such multitude of life." To us, when we 
think of it, the Strand is only a vast thoroughfare crowded 
with traffic, and the place whither we go to find Exeter 
Hall, or the Adelphi or Gaiety theatres, as our taste may 
guide us. But the name which the street still bears will 
remind us of its position, following the strand^ the shore, of 
the Thames. This was the first cause of its popularity, 
and of its becoming for three hundred years what the Corso 
is to Rome, and the Via Nuova to Genoa, a street of 
palaces. The rise of these palaces was very gradual. As 
late as the reign of Edward H. (1315), a petition was pre- 
sented complaining that the road from Temple Bar to 
Westminster was so infamously bad that it was ruinous to 
the feet both of men and horses, and moreover that it was 
overgrown with thickets and bushes. In the time of Edward 
in., the rapid watercourses which crossed that road and fell 
into the Thames were traversed by bridges, of which there 
were three between Charing Cross and Temple Bar. Of 
two of these bridges the names are still preserved to us in 
the names of two existing streets — Ivy Bridge Lane and 
Strand Bridge Lane ; the third bridge has itself been seen 
by many living persons. It was discovered in 1802, buried 



deep beneath the soil near St. Clement's Church, and was 
laid bare during the formation of some new sewers. In 
the reign of Heniy VIII., ^^ the road of the Strand was still 
described as full of pits and sloughs, very perilous and 
noisome.*' But the Strand was the highway from the royal 
palace at Westminster to the royal palace on the Fleet, and 
so became popular with the aristocracy. Gradually great 
houses had sprung up along its course, the earliest being 
Essex House, Durham House, and the Palace of the Bishops 
of Norwich, afterwards called York House ; though even 
in Elizabeth's time the succession was rather one of coun- 
try palaces than of town residences, for all the great houses 
looked into fields upon the north, and on the south had 
large and pleasant gardens sloping towards the river. 

Till the Great Fire drove the impulse of building west- 
wards and the open ground of Druiy Lane and its neigh- 
bourhood was built upon, the Strand was scarcely a street 
in its present sense ; but it was already crowded as a thor- 
oughfare. Even in 1628 George Wither, the Puritan Poet, 
in his Britain's Rimembrancer^ speaks of — 

** The Strand, that goodly tfarow-fiue betweene 
The Court and City : and where I have seene 
Well-nigh a million passing in one day." 

It was in the Strand that (May 29, 1660) Evelyn ^^ stood 
and beheld and blessed God " for the triumphal entry of 
Charles II. 

As the houses closed in two hundred years ago and the 
Strand became a regular street, it was enlivened by every 
house and shop having its own sign, which long took the 
place of the numbers now attached to them. Chaucer and 
Shakespeare when in London would have been directed to at 
the sign of the Dog, or the Golden Unicom, or the Tliree 


Crowns, or whatever the emblem of the house might be at 
which they were residing. The signs were all swept away 
in the reign of Geoi^ge III., both because they had then ac- 
quired so great a size, and projected so far over the street, 
and because on a windy day they were blown to and fro 
with horrible creaking and groaning, and were often torn 
off and thrown down, killing the foot-passengers in their 
fall. Many old London signs are preserved in the City 
Museum of the Guildhall, and are very curious. The per- 
sons who lived in the houses so distinguished were fre- 
quently sirnamed from their signs. Thus the famous 
Thomas a Becket was in his youth called ^* Thomas of the 
Snipe," from the emblem of the house where he was bom. 
One only of the great Strand palaces has survived entire 
to our own time. We have all of us seen and mourned 
over Northumberland House, one of the noblest Jacobean 
buildings in England, and the most picturesque feature of 
LfOndon. The original design was by Jansen, but it was 
altered by Inigo Jones, and from the plans of the latter the 
house was begun (in 1603) by Henry Howard, Earl of 
Northampton, who was ridiculed for building so large a 
residence in the then country village of Charing. He be^ 
queathed it to his nephew, the Earl of Suffolk, who was 
tiie builder of Audley End, and who finished the garden 
side of the house. It was then called Suffolk House, but 
changed its name (in 1642) when Elizabeth, daughter of 
the second Earl of Suffolk, married Algernon Percy, tenth 
Earl of Northumberland. On his death it passed to his 
daughter. Lady Elizabeth Percy, who was twice a widow 
and three times a wife before she was seventeen. Her third 
husband was Charles Seymour, commonly called the proud 
Duke of Somerset, who was one of the chief figures in the 
pageants and politics of six reigns, having supported the 


chief mourners at the funeral of Charles II., and carried 
the orb at the coronation of George II. It was this Duke 
who never allowed his daughters to sit down in his pres- 
ence, even when they were nursing him for days and weeks 
together, in his eighty-seventh year at Northumberland 
House, and who omitted one of his daughters in his will 
because he caught her involuntarily napping by his bedside. 
In his last years his punctiliousness so little decreased that 
when his second wife. Lady Charlotte Finch, once ventured 
to pat him playfully on the shoulder, he turned round upon 
her with, ^^ Madame, my first wife was a Percy, and she 
would never have taken such a liberty.'' It was a son of 
this proud Duke who was created Earl of Northumberland, 
with remainder to his only daughter, who married Sir Hugh 
Smithson, created Duke of Northumberland in 1766. 
Added to, and altered at different periods, the greater part of 
the house, though charming as a residence, was architectur- 
ally unimportant. But when it was partially rebuilt, the 
original features of the Strand front had always been pre* 
served — and as we saw its beautiful gateway, so with the 
exception of a few additional ornaments, Inigo Jones de- 
signed it. The balustrade was originally formed by an in- 
scription in capital letters, as at Audley End and Temple 
Newsam, and it is recorded that the fall of one of these 
letters killed a spectator as the funeral of Anne of Den- 
mark was passing. High above the porch stood for a hun- 
dred and twenty-five years a leaden lion, the crest of the 
Percies (now removed to Syon House); and it was a 
favourite question which few could answer right, which 
way the familiar animal's tail pointed. Of all the barbar* 
ous and ridiculous injuries by which London has been 
wantonly mutilated within the last few years, the destruc- 
tion of the Northumberland House has been the greatest. 


The removal of some ugly houses on the west and the 
sacrifice of a corner of the garden, might have given a bet- 
ter term to the street now called Northumberland Avenue, 
and have saved the finest great historical house in London, 
^( commenced by a Howard, continued by a Percy, and 
completed by a Seymour" — ^the house in which the res- 
toration of the monarchy was successfully planned in 
1660 in the secret conferences of General Monk. 

It is just beyond the now melancholy site of Northumber- 
land House that we enter upon what is still called ^^ the 
Strand." If we could linger, as we might in the early 
morning, when there would be no great traffic to hinder us, 
we should see that, even now, the great street is far from 
unpicturesque. Its houses, projecting, receding, still orna- 
mented here and there with bow-windows, sometimes with 
a little sculpture or pargetting work, presents a very broken 
outline to the sky ; and, at the end, in the blue haze which 
is so beautiful' on a fine day in London, rises the Flemish- 
looking steeple of St. Mary le Strand with the light stream- 
ing through its open pillars. 

The Strand palaces are gone now. In Italian cities, 
which love their reminiscences and guard them, their sites 
would be marked by inscribed tablets let into the later 
houses. This is not the way with Englishmen; yet, even 
in England, they have their own commemoration, and in 
the Strand the old houses and the old residents have their 
records in the names of the adjoining streets on either side 
the way. Gay, calling upon his friend Fortescue to 'walk 
west with him from Temple Bar, thus alludes to them : — 

« Come, Fortescue, smcere, experienced fiiend. 
Thy bnc&p thy deeds, and e'en thy fees suspend ; 
Come, let ut leave the Temple's silent walls ; 
Me business to my distant lodgmg caUs ; 


Through the long Strand together let ut stray. 
With thee conversing^ I forget the way. 
Behold that narrow street which steep descends. 
Whose building to the slimy shore extends ; 
Here Arundel's fiuned structure rear'd its frame. 
The street alone retains the empty name. 
Where Titian's glowing paint the canvas, warm'd. 
And Raphael's £ut design with judgment charm'd. 
Now hangs the bellman's song, and pasted here 
The colour'd prints of Overton appear. 
Where statues breath'd, the works of Phidias' hands, 
A wooden pump, or lonely watchhouse stands. 
There Essex' stately pile adom'd the shore. 
There Cecil's, Bedfiird's, Villiers's — ^now no more." 



LL a-growing and a-blowing ! " Of all the 
sounds that reach my ears during the year, none 
gives me greater pleasure than this, the cry of 
the flower sellers. It brings glad tidings of sunshine, it is 
an assurance that fogs are a thing of the past, and it bids 
you watch for the coming of the swallow. 

To the hard-working professional man the advent of 
spring brings new life, and its first pulsations are often 
induced by the sight of the daffodil on the street barrows. 

It may not be generally known that the flower hawkers 
are an extremely industrious class. Their day commences 
at the earliest dawn, or even before, in Covent Garden 
Market, or one of the other centres whither the grower 
consigns his produce. 

In my early days it was no uncommon thing for young 
gentlemen, after passing the night in a somewhat dissipated 
manner, to wend their way, in the small hours of the 
morning, to Covent Garden Market, in order to have a cup 
of coffee at the stall by the church, and, as they expressed 
it, ^ to see life with the costers." 

It has been said, and with a good deal of truth, that the 
district known as Covent Garden has more literary, and, 
indeed, human interest than any other spot in modern or 
ancient London. 

^ Covent Garden " is, as everyone knows, a corruption 
of ^^ Convent Garden." Some six hundred years ago the 



ground covered by the present market and the surrounding 
buildings was an enclosure belonging to the Abbots of 
Westminster. One part of the area was used by them as 
a kitchen garden, and another part as a place of burial. At 
the dissolution of the religious houses — so we learn from 
Thornbury — ^the property passed into the hands of the 
Duke of Somerset, on whose attainder in 1552 it was given 
by the crown to John Russell, Earl of Bedford, under the 
description of ^^ Covent Garden, lying in the parish of St. 
Martin's in the Fields, next Charing Cross, with seven 
acres called Long Acre, of the yearly value of six pounds, 
six shillings and eight pence." The value of the land, I 
am informed, has since increased. 

In 1630, or thereabouts, the large square was laid out, 
from the designs of Inigo Jones, by Francis, fourth Earl of 
Bedford. On the north was the Piazza that still exists, on 
the east another that has long since been destroyed by fire, 
on the south the blank wall bounding the garden of Bedford 
House, and on the west the church of St. Paul, which was 
also designed by Inigo Jones, and which is a familiar build- 
ing in the present day. Along the southern wall stood a 
number of trees, and it was beneath their foliage that the 
fruit and vegetable market had its first beginnings. In 
1689 Strype wrote: ^^The south side of Covent Garden 
Square lieth open to Bedford Garden, where there is a 
small grotto of trees, most pleasant in the summer season ; 
and on this side is kept a market for fruits, herbs, roots, and 
flowers every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday — which is 
grown to a considerable account — and well served with 
choice goods, which makes it much resorted to.*' 

I may be forgiven for quoting another writer in reference 
to the change that time wrought on this spot. Walter 
Savage Landor put the matter thus : ^^ The garden formal 

w yohkI 

^>; :,:<, utHcX ANC 


and quiet, where a salad was cut for a lady abbess, and 
flowers were gathered to adorn images, became a market, 
noisy and full of life, distributing thousands of fruits and 
flowers to a vicious population." 

The market gradually developed, and in 167 1 it was 
formerly established under a charter granted by the King to 
the Earl of Bedford. Wooden stalls and sheds, and other 
makeshift erections, met the requirements of the salesmen 
and women for a long time, and it was not until 1830 that 
the present market was erected. It was built by John, 
sixth Duke of Bedford, the architect being Mr. William 
Fowler; and an interesting circiimst^ce in connection with 
its construction was that, while excavating for the founda- 
tions, some navvies came upon a quantity of human re- 
mains, which no doubt dated from the time when the 
Abbots used the ground as their place of burial. 

In days gone by, Covent Garden was a very fashionable 
quarter. We read that, between 1666 and J 700, the fol- 
owing, among other distinguished persons resided in the 
Piazzas : Lord HoUis, Lord Brownlow, the Bishop of Dur- 
ham, Lord Newport, the Duke of Richmond, Lord Lucas, 
the Earl of Oxford, Sir Godfrey Kneller, Sir Kenelm 
Digby, the Marquis of Winchester, Benjamin West, and 
Sir Peter Lely. King Street, Henrietta Street, and other 


thoroughfares in the immediate neighbourhood, were also 
crowded with ^^ persons of quality," as the phrase runs. 

Many and various are the memories that cling to Covent 
Garden. Looking back through a long vista of years, one 
can see, with the mind's eye, two monster conflagrations, 
separated by an interval of some five decades, in which 
former Covent Garden Theatres were totally destroyed. 
Again, to go still further back in the distance of time, it 
was on the Piazzas that Powell set up his famous peep- 


show, to which, a wit of the period declared, large congre- 
gations were attracted by the ringing of the bell at the 
neighbouring church. 

At one end of the existing Piazza stood the Bedford Cof- 
fee Tavern, an establishment with which are intimately as- 
sociated the names of Garrick, Foote, Quin, and many 
other notabilities ; and in the immediate vicinity was Sher- 
idan's resort, the ^* Piazza Hotel." '^Then, too, at the 
north-west corner of Covent Garden was Evans's, that 
famous meeting-place for men of wit and fashion, where, 
before clubs were known, it is stated that as many as nine 
dukes have dined on one evening. 

The Strand and its environments never seem to go to 
bed. The stream of traffic flows on without intermission 
throughout every hour in the twenty-four, and it would be 
very difficult to say when the work of the night ends and 
the work of the day commences. The omnibuses of course 
stop running at a given hour ; but before all the other pas- 
senger conveyances have vanished from the streets, vans 
laden with fruit, vegetables, hay, and other spoils from the 
country, come lumbering along. Early rising is the rule 
with labouring London. 

Any of my readers who may visit Covent Garden Mar- 
ket in the small hours of the morning will see very much 
the same sights as those that were to be witnessed twenty 
or thirty years ago. On entering Wellington Street from 
the Strand you find the roadway choked with vans, carts of 
all shapes and sizes, and barrows. Every other street lead- 
ing to the market is in the same congested condition* Who 
would have thought the world contained so many cabbages 
and potatoes as are to be seen here ? Men bearing baskets 
and cases on their heads pass hither and thither, dodging 
each other with a dexterity born of long experience. 


The shouts and oaths so freely exchanged are responsible 
for a deal of the prevailing din ; but other than human 
throats contribute to it laigely. I refer to those of the 
costers' donkeys. One of these animals, elated it may be by 
meeting so many fellow*creatures, gives utterance to a pro- 
longed and well-executed bray. Others at once raise their 
voices in response, and in a moment all the donkeys in the 
street are exercising those vocal powers with which Provi- 
dence, in its inscrutable wisdom, has seen fit to endow 
them. One cannot help feeling very sorry for such of the 
occupants of the neighbouring houses as desire to sleep. 

The manner in which the vegetables are packed in the 
huge market carts is extraordinary. You see loads of let- 
tuces and cabbages ten feet high, roped and netted down so 
tightly that, when unloosened, you marvel how so many 
could have been pressed into the space. 

The market itself is, of course,' the scene of scenes. 
For incessant industry it is a veritable bee-hive. If you 
are disposed to stand about and watch what is going on, 
you must have a care for your head and your shins. The 
buyers, salesmen, and porters are no respecters of persons. 
With them it is work first suid politeness afterwards. 

If it is summer-time, the air is loaded with the fragrance 
of flowers, and the market is made beautiful with their 

^^ Now then for your dollars," shouts the eager seller ; 
'^ we come here to sell, so make your choice and be sharp 
about it.*' 

You turn to see by whom these words are spoken, when 
thump ! you are nearly knocked off your feet by a burly, 
perspiring porter bending under a load of cauliflowers. 
^^ Why don't yer git out of the blooming way ? '' is his 
substitute for an apology. 


There are plenty of beggars and loafers standing about, 
and, oddly enough, a little group of Sisters of Mercy and 
hospital nurses. What on earth are they doing here at 
such an hour ? The answer is very simple — they are buy- 
ing flowers, at market prices, to gladden the hearts of poor 
sufferers laid on beds of sickness. 

Who is that individual in blue, standing in the middle of 
the avenue ? He looks like a butcher — ^but no ; what could 
a butcher be doing there ? Well, absurd as it may seem at 
first sight, the supposition is correct. There he stands, 
steel on belt, with a basket of steaks and other pieces of 
meat. He shouts : ^^ Buy ! buy ! buy I ** On drawing 
closer you will find that the good man is doing a very brisk 
trade, and rapidly disposing of his stock. The market 
habitues, it appears, buy his meat and take it to neighbour- 
ing cofFee-shops and public-houses, where they either have 
it cooked for them or perform the operation themselves. 

Not the least interesting among those who every morn- 
ing flock to Covent Garden are the women who sell button- 
holes and nosegays in the street. Theirs is a most labori- 
ous life. They have to rise in time to attend the early 
morning market, and it sometimes takes them the whole of 
the day to dispose of their stock. While they are laying 
out their few shillings on roses, carnations, geraniums and 
maidenhair, they have to beware of the market thieves, who 
are always ready to pounce down upon goods that are left 
unguarded. When the women and girl flower sellers re- 
turn to their lodgings after attending the market, they pro- 
ceed to sort their stock and make up their buttonholes. It 
is extraordinary with what quickness and ability the latter 
operation is performed: A few flowers are placed together 
so as to form a dainty little spray, and they are then nimbly 
bound together with wire. 


Strangely enough, the flower seller, as a rule, has no love 
for flowers. She knows that her customers like them, and 
appreciate a well-arranged buttonhole, but where the great 
attraction lies, she herself cannot understand. How sel- 
dom you see a flower girl wearing a flower ! That her 
male associates should be insensible to the charm of their 
goods is less surprising. Probably the only personal use a 
coster ever made of a flower was to put the stalk in his 
mouth and chew it. 

The number of male and female street flower sellers in 
London is very large. Several will often congregate to- 
gether at a street corner, competing for the patronage of the 
public with great good nature. The women are nearly all 
dressed alike, with the same sort of hat and feathers, the 
same tartan shawls, short cotton dresses, and high-heeled 
lace-up boots, and the same kind of gold ear-rings. 

Taking them as a whole, the flower sellers — ^men and 
women alike^-^re a very worthy class. 



IN the middle ages, the great Dominican monastery^ 
which has given the name Blackfriars to the whole 
locality, stretched from Ludgate almost to the 
Thames, while on the opposite side of the Fleet, then a 
broad river, stood the Palace of Bridewell, a residence of 
Saxon, Norman and Plantagenet Kings, rebuilt by Heniy 
VIII. for the reception of Charles V. It was given by 
Edward VL to the city for a hospital and endowed with the 
revenues taken from the Savoy ; in Elizabeth's time it be- 
came a prison. All that remained of the palace perished in 
the great fire, and upon the site was erected the notorious 
gaol which figures in one of the plates of Hogarth's Harkfs 

The monastery was destroyed by the Tudor tyrant, and 
a church within its precincts, dedicated to St. Anne, was 
converted into a storehouse for properties used in court en- 
tertainments ; and here ^^ the Children of Paul%'' who had 
been actors since the days of the Miracle Plays, rehearsed.^ 

iM Xhe Children of Paul's/' who figure so largely in the dramatic his- 
tory of Elizabeth and James's reigns, were the choristers of the cathedraL 
Plays were frequently represented by them, not only in their schools and 
in the private theatres, but sometimes at court. The Blackfriars, before 
it was taken over by Burbage and his partners, seems to have been de- 
voted entirely to their use. The players were very jealous of their pc^ 
ularity, and it is to them that Hamlet alludes in the lines : " There is, sir, 
an aery of children, little eye-asses, that cry out on the top of the ques- 
tion, and are most tyrannically clapped for't; these are now the fitshion/' 
etc., etc. See Hamlet^ ill. 2. 



In the next reign it became a tennis-court, and in 1596 
James Burbage converted it into a theatre, the renowned 
Blackfriars, greatly to the horror of the Puritans, who 
swarmed in this neighbourhood, and who presented endless 
petitions to both Elizabeth, James and Charles to suppress 
this ^^ sinful" place, as the crowds who flocked to it so 
blocked the thoroughfares that people could not get to their 
shops. It is worth noting that these snuffling hypocrites 
were dealers chiefly in feathers, pins and looking-glasses, 
and such like vanities, and that the players were among 
their best customers. 

No picture of the theatre, in which many of Shakes- 
peare's masterpieces were first produced, is known to exist ; 
but from contemporary plays, more especially those of Ben 
Jonson, it is possible to give a vivid presentment of the in- 
terior of the building during a performance. The Black- 
friars was a private theatre — ^that is to say, it was chiefly 
supported by noble patrons, who subscribed for .boxes, and 
consequently it was conducted with greater decorum than 
was the Globe or the Fortune, or such like. Again, it was 
entirely roofed in, while the public theatres were partly open 
to the sky ; and there were seats in the pit, a luxury not 
vouchsafed to ^^ the groundlings " in the others. 

To eyes accustomed to the glare of gas and electric 
light, the interior, lit up simply by candles, will appear 
plunged in semi-darkness. A silken curtain, which runs 
upon an iron rod and opens in the middle, at present con- 
ceals the stage. On three sides are tiers of galleries, to 
which the prices of admission are sixpence and a shilling, 
and to the small boxes or rooms beneath, two shillings and 
two and sixpence ; these latter are rented by the aristoc- 
racy. The pit, in the public theatres, is filled with a noisy, 
nut-cracking, apple-eating, ale-drinking, card-playing, romp- 


ing, flirting, riotous crowd, whose clamour frequently 
drowns the voices of the actors ; but no such license is 
permitted here, nor would those sober citizens who sit at- 
tentive on their benches desire it. 

In a balcony on one side of the stage are the musicians, 
who play before the play and between the acts, like the 
orchestra of a modern theatre ; and very excellent music it 
is, for the musicians pay for the privilege of performing at 
the Blackfriars, as it recommends them to the nobility. 

Hark ! there is the triple flourish of trumpets, which an- 
nounces that the play will now begin, and the curtsuns are 
drawn back on each side. As a tragedy is to be represented 
the stage is hung with black, and like the halls of the 
nobles, the boards are strewn with rushes ; there is another 
curtain at the back, which is still closed ; the walls at the 
sides are hung with arras. 

Although the actors have not yet appeared, the stage is 
already half-filled with ladies and gallants, seated upon 
three-legged stools, some of the gentlemen lying upon the 
rushes at their ladies' feet and fanning themselves a la 
Hamlet and Ophelia. Here we have the jeunesse dorie of the 
court, the Mercutios, the Tybalts, the Romeos, the Bene- 
dicks, who in the play will see themselves reflected as in a 
mirror, just as in the dramas of our day we attempt to show 
^^ the very age and body of the time, its form and pres- 
sure.'' We have met the gallants strolling in the aisles of 
old St. Paul's, and dining at Dick Tarleton's Ordinary, 
noted their close-cropped hair, their huge ruflfs, monstrous 
trunk-hose, their feet half-hidden by the splendid roses in 
their shoes. But here are the ladies in their pearled stom- 
achers, their expansive farthingales, stiff with gold and silver 
embroidery, and their yellow dyed hair and glittering winged 
ruflls. At the back of each gallant stands a page, a veritable 


Mothy whose duty it is to keep his master's pipe, moulded 
in silver or clay into many curious shapes, supplied with 
tobacco from ^ fine lily pots" that upon being opened smell 
like conserve of roses, while between a pair of silver tongs 
he holds a glowing coal of juniper wood to ignite the Vir- 
ginian weed, so that the atmosphere resembles that of a 
modem music haU. 

When the curtain at the back is undrawn it reveals an 
upper and a lower platform j the former, raised upon pillars 
ten feet high, is used when the scene ^ requires a double 
action ; it serves for Juliet's balcony and the ramparts from 
which Prince Arthur casts himself. The actors are richly 
dressed in the costumes of the day ; many of the nobility 
send them their cast off suits. But they are not dependent 
upon these, for Henslowe has entered in his Diary such 
items as the following : ^^ jf'ai for two piled velvet cloaks 
at 20J. and 5^. a yard; £6 13/. for a lady's gown; 
;£'i9 for one cloak." To appreciate the sumptuousness of 
this apparel we must bear in mind the relative value of 
money in that day and this. 

And now the play begins, and proceeds amidst loud com- 
ments from the audience, complimentary and otherwise. If 
they do not like it, there are cries of ** mew ! " " blirt ! " 
"ha, ha!" "light, chaffy stuff!" Would I could de- 
scribe how Burbage and Will Kempe and Lrowin and 

1 Whether or not scenery was used in these prvoaU theatres is a point 
by no means certain. Considering the wonderful scenic effects which 
were common in the court ** masques " (see Ben Jonson's Masques)^ I 
think it more than probable ; how otherwise can we understand the stage 
directions in the plays of the period which indicate not only scenes but 
sets ? This is no place to enter into such a discussion, but let the reader 
take up his Shakespeare or Jonson, or indeed any Elizabethan dramatist, 
and consider the matter for himself. 


Shakespeare looked and acted, but of that we have no 
record ; and here the wings of my Pegasus fail him and we 
drop down upon Nineteenth Century ground again. 

Drury Lane. 

The ancient name of Drury Lane was the Via de 
Aldwych — hence Wych Street ; but in the reign of Eliza- 
beth Sir Robert Drury built a mansion with gardens upon 
the spot where now stands the Olympic Theatre, and from 
that time it has been known by its present appellation. 
The gallant Earl Craven, who was supposed to have been 
secretly united to James L's daughter, the titular Queen 
of Bohemia, was the next tenant, and during the latter part 
of the Eighteenth Century the noble house was converted 
into a tavern, known by the sign of the Queen of Bohemia. 
By 1805 the structure had fallen into such decay that it 
was necessary to pull it down. The ground was taken by 
Philip Astley, of amphitheatre notoriety, who thereupon 
erected, chiefly out of the materials of an old French war- 
ship, a naval prize ^^ The Olympic Pavilion,'' and opened 
it as a circus. 

Druiy Lane was quite an aristocratic quarter in the 
Stuarts' days; the Marquis of Argyle and the Earl of 
Anglesey among others had mansions in it ; but even in 
the time of Charles IL its inhabitants were mixed. Pepys 
tells us that Nell Gwynne lodged here when she was an 
actress, and some biographers assert that Nelly was bom in 
the Coal Yard, at the Holborn end of the street, but this is 
very doubtful. By the opening of the Eighteenth Century, 
Drury Lane had begun to be known as a harbour of vice 
and squalor, and as such it has been notorious ever since. 
Goldsmith writes of ^^the drabs and bloods of Drury 


Lane " ; Pope in The Dunciad^ indicates that it was the 
haunt of the hack-writer who, 

Lulled by zephyrs through the broken panes. 
Rhymes ere he wakes," 

and Gay, in Trivia^ writes of 

" Drury's mazy courts and dark abodes/' 

Hogarth here laid the scene of The Harlofs Prognss^ and 
references to the peculiar vices of the place will be found 
in The Tatler. 

Drury Lane, from the time of James L has been closely 
associated with the stage. The Cockpit, burned down in a 
'prentice riot, and rebuilt under the name of The Phoenix, 
the first theatre erected within its precincts, was, like the 
Blackfriars and Salisbury Court, ^^ a private house." Its 
memory was preserved until recently in Pitt Court, a 
noisome cul-de-sac^ now covered by the model lodging- 
houses on the eastern side of the Lane. It ceased to be 
used soon after the Restoration. 

Killigrew converted a tennis-court in Vere Street, Clare 
Market into a temporary theatre, which he opened on the 
8th of November, 1660. It had a brief existence of less 
than three years, and it does not appear to have been used 
again until after the company was transferred to their new 
house of which I shall write directly. Vere Street would 
claim no notice here but for the fact that it was on its stage 
the first English actress made her debut^ 8th December, 
1660, in the character of Desdemona. The name of the 
lady who inaugurated such a revolution in things theatrical, 
as women's parts had hitherto been performed by boys, is 
unknown, though it might have been either of the beauti- 


ful sisters, Anne or Beck Marshall, so frequently mentioned 
by Pepys, or Prince Rupert's favourite, Mrs. Hugues, who 
figures in De Grammont's Memoirs.^ 

Charles II. granted Henry Killigrew, a groom of the 
chamber, a patent, still extant, for the erection of a theatre 
upon an old riding yard in Druiy Lane. Four successive 
houses have stood there. The first, which cost only the 
modest sum of ;£^i,500, was opened on 8th April, 
1663, and destroyed by fire nine years afterwards. The 
second, built from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren, 
was plain and unpretentious, and thereby offered a striking 
contrast to Davenant's splendid theatre in Salisbury Couit. 
Its records were, however, unique; it stood through six 
reigns, and was the scene of the triumphs of Betterton, 
Booth, Garrick, Mrs. Barry, Mrs. Oldfield, Mrs. Porter, 
Mrs. Pritchard, Peg WofBngton, Miss Abington, Mrs. 
Siddons, etc., etc. By 1791, the house had fallen into such 
decay that it had to be pulled down. A magnificent and 
colossal building, which could accommodate 3,611 people, 
or nearly 600 more than the present theatre, was opened on 
1 2th March, 1794, and perished in the flames on 24th 
February, 1809. The loss was so enormous that it was 
not until loth October, 18 12, that the Drury Lane of to- 
day was ready for the public. A host of delightful recol- 
lections are associated with this famous Temple of Thespis, 
but the exigences of space forbid me even to glance at them. 

But as I have attempted a picture of the Blackfriars in 
the days of James I., I will now essay a companion sketch 

1 This was not the actual dih$t of a woman upon the English stage. 
In 1656 a Mrs. Coleman took the part of lanthe in the opera of TIU 
Siege of Rhodes. This was probably a priTate performance at the Cock- 
pit, either in defiance of or by conniTance of the law, for the stringent 
suppression of the theatres was beginning to be relaxed at that time 


of Druiy Lane in the days of his grandsons. The theatre 
is of moderate dimensions, and lit only by candles ; foot- 
lights are unknown, and will be until Garrick introduces 
them from Paris, and the stage is illumined only by a ring 
of candles dependent from ^^the flies." The orchestra 
occupies a side balcony, as it did at the Blackfriars ; the 
deep proscenium projects in a semi-oval form to the front 
bench of the pit ; there are no stage boxes but an entrance 
on each side for the actors. The auditorium consists of 
two tiers of boxes, divided into compartments ; at the sides 
are balconies, and a izd. and 18^. gallery. 

In the boxes, which are almost exclusive to the court, 
with their heads affectedly posed on one side, languish the 
Sir Fopling Flutters and Sir Courtly Nices, a raree-show of 
gaudy velvets and satins, slashed, laced, spangled and cov- 
ered with streaming ribbons. Their inane faces, spotted 
with black patches of various shapes, are half-hidden by 
huge periwigs, veritable cascades of hair of every shade 
from flaxen to black. Lounging back in their chairs, they 
languidly pass silver or gold-mounted combs through their 
rippling locks, to display the whiteness of their hands and 
their jewelled fingers, and their rufiles of point de Venise^ 
while some wear gold-fringed and embroidered silk gloves, 
buttoning up to the elbow, the cuflF of the coat or doublet 
not coming lower. Standing behind their chairs, lacqueys 
sprinkle their wigs and handkerchiefs with delicate essences 
from gold and crystal flagons, while they themselves titilate 
their nostrils with pulvilio from gold and jewelled snuff-- 
boxes, lest the odour from the groundlings should ^ nause- 
ate " them. A lady kisses her hand to one of these beaux 
from an opposite box ; he rises, bows almost to his knees, 
and, in doing so, contrives to jerk the whole mass of his 
periwig over his face, and as he rises again throws it back 


without ruffling a curl. To another enters un bon cama- 
rade. With what effusiveness he greets him in a jaigon of 
French and Italian, and kisses him upon both cheeks, 
amidst shouts of derision from ^^ the groundlings," whose 
choice sport it is to bait the fops. 

The male butterfly is so goigeous that the female is 
almost eclipsed by him. The faces of most of the ladies 
are concealed by silk visors, a necessary reserve, consider- 
ing the very free dialogue of the play, though here and 
there some Phryne braves the leers of men, preferring to 
display her charms. 

But what a hubbub of laughter, jesting, hissing, quarrel- 
ling, jumping on seats, tumbling over seats, scrambling and 
screaming rises from the half-crown pit during the inter- 
vals. The more sober part of the audience occupy the 
centre, while the sides are given up to the gallants and the 
vizards. Ladies of quality, hiding their identity beneath 
their masks, share the license of this Agapemone with the 
nymphs of Covent Garden. In Fops' Corner, men of 
mode mingle with the Temple beaux, threadbare wits, 
knights of the post and adventurers of every description. 
'' Fine Chaney oranges ! Fine Chaney oranges ! ** is a cry 
that resounds on every side, and the buxom vendors drive 
a thriving trade with their fruit at sixpence each, while 
the gallants toy and flirt with them. 

Up in the galleries the fun is yet more fast and furious. 
The Olympians pelt the boxes with apples and oranges, and 
salute the Laises and Phrynes of the court with epithets 
more truthful than decent. Abagails, sempstresses from 
the New Exchange, and Lindabrides from the Stews, better 
on the example set by their superiors. When the curtain 
draws up, another audience is revealed to the occupants of 
the auditorium, which hem in the stage. 


The Haymarket. 

When Sir John Vanbrugh, in 1704, proposed to build a 
theatre at the bottom of the Haymarket, all to the north 
of it was pasture land and it was argued that the city, the 
Inns of Court, and the middle part of the town, from which 
came the chief supporters of the theatre, would be beyond 
the reach of an easy walk, and coach hire would be too 
hard a tax upon the pit and gallery. Houses, however, had 
been erected close by in Charles H.'s time, and in 1692 
the roadway was formed on its present lines, but the air was 
still so pure that laundresses bleached their linen upon the 
hedges of Hedge Lane, which stretched from what is now 
Pall Mall East to Tyburn Road ; and the farmers of Ken- 
sington and Chelsea sold their hay there three times a 
week, as they had done since the days of the Tudors. 

The Queen's Theatre, however, as it was called until 
the accession of George I., when it became The King's, 
was built and opened in 1705. But it proved such a dis- 
astrous failure at first that it was let to Owen Swiney for 
£$ a night !' After oscillating for a while between drama 
and opera, in spite of the ridicule and opposition of such 
potent publications as The Spectator against this exotic 
species of entertainment, it finally settled down to an opera- 

Vanbrugh's great theatre was burned down in 1739, set 
on fire, it was believed, by the leader of the orchestra out 
of revenge. It was a dull heavy building of red brick, 
roofed with black glazed tiles, and with a frontage only 
thirty-five feet wide, in which were three circular-headed 
doors and windows. Upon its site rose the building which 
many of us remember, first opened in 1 791, to fall a prey 
to the flames in 1867. It was rebuilt two years later ; but 
the history of the third house was one of disaster and 


finally of degradation until its demolition. A handsome 
new theatre, bearing the old name, now occupies its site. 

No spot in Europe can show a grander record of lyric 
genius than that south-west corner of the Haymarket; 
every great singer from Nicolini, the male soprano to 
Tamberlik and Mario, from Faustina and Cuzzoni to 
Christine Nilsson and Titiens, has sung there ; the operas 
of every celebrated composer, from Handel to Verdi and 
Gounod, have been heard there; every famous ballerina 
from Mile. Salle, who first introduced the opera ballet into 
London in 1734, to Taglioni, Ellsler and Rosati have 
pirouetted there. That spot has echoed to the notes of the 
wonderful Farinelli, for whose powers of execution no 
composer could write passages difficult enough, for whom, 
while he was singing, the orchestra foigot to play, over- 
whelmed by his genius ; to the bravura and fioturi of Cata- 
lani, who could leap two octaves ; to the voice of that 
transcendent artiste. Pasta, of whom in her decay Viardot 
said : ^^ She is like the Cenacoh of Da Vinci at Milan, a 
wreck of a picture — but that picture is the greatest in the 
world ** ; to the wonderful B flat of the incomparable 
Rubini, which he once gave forth with such vigour that he 
fractured his collar-bone; to the thunderous bass of 
Lablache. Here was the scene of the Jenny Lind furore ; 
and have not many of us the glorious notes of Titiens and 
the dulcet, silvery ring of Nilsson's voice still echoing in 
our ears ? Who in the present day can realize that dancing, 
vulgarized as it is now, was ever the poetry of motion ? 
Yet who could have been more poetical than the ethereal 
grace of Taglioni, the intoxicating sorcery of the divine 
Ellsler, the ideality of Lucille Grahn, the dazzling bril- 
liancy of Carlotta Grisi, the fascinating verse of Cerito. 

In 1720 a small, wooden theatre, which with all appli- 


ances cost only ;f 1,500, was built on the eastern side of 
the street, and came to be known as ^^ the little theatre in 
the Haymarket." First opened by a French company, it 
passed into the hands of mountebanks and rope-dancers, 
until Harry Fielding undertook it, in 1730, and produced 
his own comedies, burlesques and farces, one of which, for 
holding Sir Robert Walpole up to ridicule, brought about, 
in 1737, the stringent Theatrical Licensing Act, by which 
the London theatres were restricted to two, Druiy Lane 
and Covent Garden. From that time until 1766, when 
Samuel Foote obtained a patent to open the house during 
the summer months, the little theatre led only a vagabond 
existence, its managers and actors being more than once 
arrested for breaking the law. 

After being repaired, patched, renovated, the original 
building, or rather all that remained of it, was pulled down 
in 1820, and the theatre of Webster and Buckstone took 
its place, which, though greatly altered by the Bancrofts, 
remains practically the same. It is probably a unique cir- 
cumstance in the history of theatres that the Haymarket, 
during the hundred and seventy-eight years of its existence 
has never suffered from fire, and only once from any seri- 
ous accident— -on the occasion of the visit of Geoige IIL 
to the house, February, 1794, when the crush at the pit 
door was so great that fifteen people were killed and twenty 
seriously injured. 

But theatrical riots have been by no means uncommon at 
the little theatre. The most curious of these occurred in 
1805. Dowton announced for his benefit an old burlesque, 
Tbi Tailors^ which had been brought out by Foote ; it was 
a satire upon the sectorial craft, who convened an indigna- 
tion meeting of its members, and resolved to oppose the 
performance with might and main. A letter was sent to 


the binificiaire signed Death, warning him that 17,000 
tailors would attend to hiss the piece, and that 100,000 
more could be found if wanted. The actors laughed. But 
on the evening the knights of the needle contrived to se- 
cure, with few exceptions, every seat in the house, while a 
mob of tailors clamoured round the doors. When Dowton 
appeared, some one threw a pair of shears at him, then the 
whole audience bellowed and roared, and the crowd outside 
answered with bellows and roars and attempted to storm 
the house. Magistrates were summoned, special constables 
called out, but all were helpless against the overwhelming 
odds ; so formidable did the riot become that it was only 
quelled by a detachment of the Life Guards, who after 
taking sixteen prisoners put the rest of the mob to flight. 
The Haymarket was the last theatre which was lit by 
candles, gas not being introduced there until 1837, ^ ^'^ 
year of Webster's tenancy. 

The Haymarket, in addition to its two theatres, was 
always noted for exhibitions, notorious among which was 
Mother Midnight's Oratory (1750), a sort of Barnum's 
show of monstrosities and trained animals.' Monkeys and 
dogs did acrobatic performances and danced a minuet ; a 
bear beat a drum ; birds spelled names and told the time by 
the clock \ turkeys executed a country dance ; there was a 
cat's concert to ridicule the opera, by which the inventor 
cleared thousands; a man who smoked out of a red-hot 
pipe and ate burning sulphur; giants, dwarfs, ventriloquists, 
dancing bears. 

I See ** Horace Walpole to George Montagu," 9th Janvaiy, 175s, for a 
foil account of the oratory. 



SOME profane person has compared the Middle Tem- 
ple to a beautiful woman with a plain husband. 
But the Inner Temple has its own beauty, some of 
it of a very substantial character. The real ^^ Queen 
Anne" style can be studied there at great ease. Some 
nooks and comers are distinctly picturesque, and the charm- 
ing view across the lawn to the embankment and the 
Thames— even though the Surrey hills of Charles Lamb's 
description are seldom, if ever, visible now — ^has been en- 
hanced in the foreground by the addition of our old friend 
from Clement's Inn, the blackamoor. 

Granting all this, and not forgetting the perfect model 
of a gentleman's town house offered us by Wren in the 
Master's lodge — for though it is on territory common to 
both Inns, like the chapel, it is geographically in the Inner 
Temple — still we are forced to confess that there is su- 
perior beauty, greater grace, better grouping in the Middle 
Temple. Its lawn seems wider, its trees are higher, its 
hall is older, its courts are quainter than those of the other 
member of this inseparable pair. I am not satisfied with 
the library, yet it has its good points, and was immensely 
admired as an example of the revived Gothic style, and by 
none more than myself, when it was first built. A little 
sense of the necessity for proportion even in Gothic build- 
ings robs it of much of its exterior charm, but the interior 



goes far to redeem it. The new garden buildings have no 
such redeeming features, nor have Harcourt Buildings ; but 
perhaps they set off the rest. The courts by which we 
enter from the north-west are among the best features, and 
when we pass through an old wrought-iron gate, and, turn- 
ing southward in an ancient and spacious court, see before 
us the fountain, the hall, the terrace, the green slope, and 
the embankment and river beyond the library, we feel that 
so far the charm of the place is as complete as ever. So 
much for beauty ; the literary and historical associations of 
the Middle Temple, it must be allowed, are chiefly of an 
imported character. The lawyers are not so much to us as 
some other people. We think of the King-maker and his 
puppets, of Shakespeare, of Goldsmith, of Johnson, of 
Porson, of Dickens ^ and not so much of Blackstone, 
Clarendon, Somers, Dunning, or Talfourd. Of course, 
some great men, men great apart from their legal qualifica- 
tions, were lawyers, and *' of the Middle Temple." Field- 
ing, the novelist, was a barrister of this Inn. His chambers 
were in Pump Court. We cannot be sure that Sir Walter 
Raleigh was a lawyer, but he described himself about 1570 
to be ^^of the Middle Temple." Another great fighting 
man was a student here for some time. Sir Henry Have- 
lock. His name among the Templars comes upon us un- 
expectedly. Yet he was a pupil of Chitty's before he 
went to India. Elias Ashmole, the antiquary, made no 
figure as a lawyer, yet he was called in 1660. He had 
chambers in Middle Temple Lane, and there in January, 
1679, his books and papers, coins and medals, were des- 
troyed by fire. 

This fire was far more destructive to the Temple than 
the Great Fire of twelve years before. If any of the 
residential part of the ancient buildings remained, they were 




now destroyed, together with the Cloisters. It broke out 
at midnight in Pump Court, and raged for twelve hours. 
The weather was cold, the Thames frozen, and the water 
supply inadequate. It is said that the barrels of ale from 
the butteries were put into the pumping engines, a story 
which may have originated from the burning of part of the 
Inner Temple Hall, when, no doubt, the beer-cellar would 
be consumed. The flames were finally subdued by the 
use of gunpowder. The chapel was saved, as well as 
Middle Temple Hall, but in addition to Pump Court, Elm 
Tree Court, and Vine Court, a part of Brick Court was 
also destroyed. Notwithstanding this calamity, the Middle 
Temple presents some old features' wanting in the other 
Inn. Apart from the church, already described, which has 
few visible signs of antiquity left, some of the courts re- 
built after 1679 are now old enough to* have grown pictur- 
esque, while the massive, well-proportioned entrance gate- 
way from Fleet Street was designed by the great Sir Chris- 
topher himself, and built in 1684. It replaced a Tudor gate- 
way, which Aubrey tells us was set up by Sir Amias Pawlet, 
who appears both to have designed and also built it, at his 
own expense, in payment of a fine laid upon him by 
Wolsey. It was decorated with the Cardinal's arms, and 
Pawlet's own shone in the window glass ; but the stone- 
work was so mouldering that the whole edifice had to be 
taken down. 

Once we are within the gate, the curious old buildings, 
assuredly much older in parts than 1684, will strike the 
visitor who enters after the newness and bustle of Fleet 
Street. The slope is steep, and leads down, through an- 
other and very different building, to that part of the Temple 
Garden which owes its existence to the Thames Embank- 
ment. A picturesque gateway here, even a plain but well- 


proportioned one, like Wren's at the top, would have been 
a conspicuous ornament to the neighbourhood. 

The first comer we come to is that of Brick Court, 
which is open to the lane on the eastern side. It is said to 
have been built in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, to have 
been the first part of the Temple made of brick, and to be 
alluded to by Spenser in the Protbalamion^ where he speaks 
of the ^ bricky towers." But the court is sacred to the 
memory of a greater than Spenser. It was in No. 2 that 
Oliver Goldsmith breathed his last, in April, 1774. His 
rooms were immediately over those of Sir William Black- 
stone, who, engaged on his Commentaries^ is said to have 
complained of the constant racket above. Goldsmith had 
first lived in Garden Court, but the house next door to 
No. 3, which still exists, has been pulled down. 

Leaving Brick Court, and continuing down Middle 
Temple Lane we arrive, opposite the hall, at a wide paved 
platform or terrace ; beyond or to westward of the terrace 
is the fountain — not the same fountain as that of which 
Lamb wrote so amusingly, but a new one, a provokingly 
new one, with a terra-cotta bird in the centre. To the 
right some steps lead up to New Court and Devereux 
Court, and on the left there are steps down to the gardens 
and the library. There are shady trees overhead, but Gold- 
smith's rooks no longer caw in them. Altogether, this 
seems to be the most pleasing part of the Temple — ^tbe 
part most often alluded to by essayists and novelists. No 
one can foiget what use Dickens made of it in Martin 
Cbuzzlewit. Here John Westlock met Ruth Pinch: 
^^ Brilliantly the Temple Fountain sparkled in the sun, and 
laughingly its liquid music played, and merrily the idle 
drops of water danced and danced, and peeping out in sport 
among the trees ^plunged lightly down to hide themselves, 


as little Ruth and her companion came towards it." In 
another place (chapter xiv.) there is a fuller description of 
the fountain : 

'' There was a little plot between them, that Tom should al- 
ways come oat of the Temple by one way ; and that was past the. 
fountain. Coming through Fountain Court he was just to glance 
down the steps leading to Garden Court and to look once all round 
him» and if Ruth had come to meet him, there he would see her — 
not sauntering, you understand (on account of the clerks), but 
coming briskly up, with the best little laugh upon her face that ever 
played in opposition to the fountain and beat it all to nothing. 
For, ^y to one, Tom had been looking for her in the wrong di- 
rection, and had quite given her up. . . . Whether there was 
life enough left in the slow vegetation of Fountain Court for the 
smoky shrubs to have any consciousness of the brightest and 
purest-hearted little woman in the world is a question for gardeners 
and those who are learned in the loves of plants. But that it was 
a good thing for that same paved yard to have such a delicate little 
figure flitting through it; that it passed like a smile from the 
grimy old houses and the worn flag-stones, and left them duller, 
darker, sterner than before — there is no sort of doubt. The 
Temple fountain might have leaped up twenty feet to greet the 
spring of hopeful maidenhood that in her person stole on, spark- 
ling, through the dry and dusty channels of the Law ; the chirping 
sparrows, bred in Temple chinks and crannies, might have held 
their peace to listen to imaginary skylarks, as so fresh a little crea- 
ture passed ; the dingy boughs, unused to droop otherwise than in 
their puny growth, might have bent down in a kindred gracefulness 
to shed their benedictions on her graceful head ; old love-letters, 
shut up in iron boxes in the neighbouring offices, and made of no 
account among the heaps of fiimily papers into which they had 
strayed, and of which, in their degeneracy they formed a part, 
might have stirred and fluttered with a moment's recollection of 
their ancient tenderness as she went lightly by." 


In the south side of the pavement of Fountain Court is 
the famous old Hall. It was built in 1572, when Plowden 
was Treasurer. It is a hundred feet long, forty-two feet 
wide, and forty-seven feet high, and the proportions are ad- 
mirably suited to give a feeling of space and lightness. Mr. 
Wheatley considers the roof, with its hammer-beams, ^ the 
best Elizabethan roof in London.'* The screen is also 
very rich and handsome, and is always, but erroneously, 
said to have been made of spoils taken from the Spanish 
Armada ; but the records of the Middle Temple show that 
It was made at least thirteen years before the Armada was 
defeated. There are many interesting associations about 
Middle Temple Hall, but the most interesting is that which 
connects it with Shakespeare. In 1597 a student called 
John Manningham was entered on the books of this Inn. 
For two years, from 1601 to 1603, he kept a brief diary, 
which is preserved among the Harleian manuscripts in the 
British Museum (No. 5353). Until it was discovered, in 
1828, that it contained a notice of the performance of 
Twelfth Night in 1602, the date usually assigned to that 
play was 1614. The diarist says, on 2d February: ^<At 
our feast wee had a play called ^ Twelve Night or what you 
will,' much like the * Comedy of Errors,' or * Menechmi ' 
in- Plautus ; but most like and neere to that in Italian 
called ' Inganni.' " There cannot be any kind of doubt 
that Shakespeare's play is referred to in this entry. Man- 
ningham goes on to describe the plot : ^^ A good practice in 
it to make the steward believe his lady widdowe was in love 
with him by counterfayting a letter, as from his lady, in 
general termes telling him what shee liked best in him, and 
prescribing his gestures, inscribing his apparaile, etc., and 
then when he came to practice, making beleeve they tooke 
him to be mad." Charles Knight, as an enthusiastic 


Shakespearian scholar, waxes almost eloquent over this 
passage. In the supplementary notice to the play in 
his *^ pictorial ** edition he writes : ^^ There is something 
to our minds very precious in that memorial.'* The fact 
is, as he very well knew, our sources of information as to 
Shakespeare are of the rarest and vaguest character. 
(^ What a scene," he exclaims, ^^ do these few plain words 
call up before us ! The Christmas festivities have lingered 
on till Candlemass. The Lord of Misrule has resigned his 
sceptre ; the fox and the cat have been hunted round the 
hall; the Masters of the Revels have sung their songs; the 
drums are silent which lent their noisy chorus to the 
Marshal's proclamations ; and Sir Francis Flatterer and 
Sir Randle Rackabite have passed into the ranks of ordinary 
men." At this point Knight refers in a footnote to Dug- 
dale's Origines yurdicialesy or, as he spells it— one of the 
few misprints in this careful book — ^^ Judiciales." Dugdale 
describes what he calls the solemn revels on ** All-Hallown 
Day and on the feast day of the Purification of our Lady," 
and mentions the fines imposed on those who failed to at- 
tend and on those who refused to ^ carry up wafers " to 
the Auncients' table. ^^ When the last measure is dancing, 
the Reader at the Cupboard calls to one of the Gentlemen 
of the Bar, as he is walking or dancing with the rest, to 
give the Judges a song : who forthwith begins the first line 
of any Psalm, as he thinks fittest ; after which all the com- 
pany follow and sing with him." Dugdale gives a full but 
tedious account of the ensuing ceremonies : of the selection 
of a competent number of utter barristers who accompany 
the Reader to the buttery, of the towels with wafers in them, 
of the wooden bowls filled with ^^ Ipocras," of the ^* low 
solemn congee; " and so on until the judges depart, escorted 
^ the Court Gate, where they take their leaves of them." 


From an architectural point of view, the Hall of the 
Middle Temple is a building of great interest. It is, I think, 
Mr. Gotch who has pointed out the survival of the old 
Gothic in the windows, after every other detail had become 
Italian. There are numerous examples at Oxford of this 
fact, and there, indeed, the Gothic tradition lived on 
through two generations. But if we look critically at the 
interior of the Middle Temple Hall we perceive— exclu- 
ding a certain intrusion of modern details by a^^ restorer '* — 
that everything belongs to the renascence period, everything 
is strictly Elizabethan except the windows. Plowden was 
Treasurer in 1572, and, so far as an architect — or, to use 
the Shakespearian phrase, a surveyor — was employed, he 
had orders to do the best he could, gathering the best 
masons, the best carvers in stone and wood, and, above all, 
the best glaziers. It will be remembered that in 1572 
window glass was still expensive, and only to be had in 
small pieces. The designer of the hall was at the mercy 
of the glaziers, and they were at the mercy of the makers 
of glass. Their traditions were all Gothic, like their 
glass ; so it comes to pass that we have the delightful in- 
congrui^ which helps so much to make the picturesqueness 
of the hall. The windows are but slightly pointed, it is 
true, but the point is in each panel of the lead-work, 
whereas in the wooden roof there is not only no point, but 
a pendent from the apex of the arch like a keystone. The 
modern stained glass is of the wrong kind of incongruity. 
It should have been of the kind, so rare in England, which 
we see in the cathedral of Brussels or the church of Gouda ; 
but, instead, it has been made to look as if it belonged to 
the time of Edward IV. or earlier still, and it is, therefore, 
or purports to be, about a hundred years older than the 
fabric in which it is placed. This is an anachronism of a 


kind very common of late. For instance, in a church of 
the latest Perpendicular style, known to have been built in 
1509, an eminent architect has placed Thirteenth-Century 
fittings, and has lined the chancel with tiles of the same 
character, so that Lyneham Church enjoys the distinction 
of having been furnished and decorated three hundred years 
before it was built ! A very similar anomaly, but not quite 
so flagrant, may be seen at Trumpington Church, near 
Cambridge. We can imagine how successive ^^ restorers " 
must have longed for leave to attack the Middle Temple 
screen, which, in spite of its being in front of a Gothic 
window filled with mediaeval glass, is aggressively rich in a 
style of Elizabethan so advanced as to be almost Palladian. 
The engaged Tuscan columns in the lower part are very 
late in style, but the upper part shows the true date, 1574. 

The heraldry in the hall is very interesting, much of it 
apparently being of the same date as the building. The 
oldest shields are in the two bay windows which flank the 
dais, and especially in that towards the south, where one is 
said to date back to 1540, and may have been removed 
from an older hall. The side windows are also full of 
heraldry. The arms of the Prince of Wales are in the 
middle window on the south side, and next to them those 
of the lamented Duke of Clarence, who, like his father, 
was a bencher of the Middle Temple. Under the windows 
arc many shields of ^^ readers," some of the best families 
in England being represented, and some very odd heraldry. 
One uxorious reader introduces his wife's arms with his 
own. Of the shields two or three are blank, out of more 
than three hundred. This means that the reader, having 
no arms, would not take out a grant. The first example 
of this exhibition of temper and taste was set by Mr. 
Charles Austin, in 1847 » ^"^ ^^ ^^ imitated as lately as 


1871. I wonder Thackeray did not embalm Austin among 
the interesting specimens described in his Book of Snobs. 
The earliest of this series is the coat of Richard Swaine, 
1597. ^^^ ^^^ ^^ ^^ contain busts, in imitation of 
bronze, of the twelve Caesars. They have been *^ re- 
stored'* away, and some armour replaces them. Theiie 
are several interesting portraits, chiefly of royal personages, 
including a bust of the Prince of Wales. 

In 1635, while the Elector Palatine was in London, a 
master of the revels, who bore the suggestive title of 
Prince d* Amours^ gave a masque, which was attended by 
Queen Henrietta Maria. The Middle Templars had 
joined heartily in the grand masque which took place in 
1633, but an account of it belongs strictly to Gray's Inn, 
from which the procession— of which Sir Francis Bacon, 
of that Inn, is said to have been the chief contriver — set 
out on its way to the Thames and Whitehall. I do not 
know who Sir Francis Bacon was. The great ^^ Viscount 
St. Alban " died in 1626, so that there is probably a mis- 
print in the account. The Masque of Flowers^ a Seven- 
teenth Century pageant, was revived in Gray's Inn in 1887, 
and was also played in the hall of the Inner Temple, but 
not in the Middle Temple, in the summer of last year. 
There are several references to the Temple in Shakespeare's 
plays. He in particular mentions a meeting in the Temple 
between Richard, Duke of York, the father of Edward IV. 
and Richard III., and the Earls of Somerset, Suffolk, and 
Warwick, when adjourning to the garden, as Suffolk 
suggested : — 

«< Within the Temple haB we were too loud ; 
The garden here is more convenient." 

This scene must be placed in the year 1430, or near it. 


The ^^ Plantagenet " of Shakespeare had been Duke of 
York for some fifteen years then. Somerset was Sir John 
Beaufort, K. G., who had succeeded to the earldom in 
1418, and became a duke in 1443. Suffolk was Sir 
William de la Pole, also a Knight of the Garter, who had 
succeeded his brother in 14 15, and was advanced to a 
dukedom in 1448. Warwick, the celebrated ^^ king-maker," 
was Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury by descent, and 
of Warwick by creation after his marriage with the heiress 
of the Beauchamps. We can picture the four great nobles 
in their gay dresses stepping down into the green slopes of 
the garden, wearing perhaps great wide-brimmed hats such 
as Van Eyck has immortalized, or soft silken kerchiefs of 
some goigeous colour, with dark purple or green or crimson 
gowns. York is little but handsome, and, for his size, com- 
pact and wiry. Of Warwick's appearance, we learn from 
one of Mr. Doyle's quotations that he was active and 
spirited, tall and strong, brave and handsome. Of Somer- 
set's appearance we know little; of Suffolk's, nothing. 
Somerset and Suffolk side together; Warwick takes part 
with York, who has plucked a white rose. Warwick 
says ; — 

** I love no colours, tnd without all colour 
Of base insinuatiiig flattery 
I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet." 

By ^ colours " Warwick means deceits or double dealing. 
We still speak of ^^a colourable pretext." Somerset 
chooses a red rose, and Suffolk follows him : — 

" I pluck this red rose with young Somerset." 

As to how far this scene is real, and as to the exact 
meaning of the roses which gave their names to the many 


years of war which ensued, it is not possible to be sure. 
Roses were already a common heraldic badge, and had ap- 
peared on the monument of Edmund Crouchback in 
Westminster Abbey. There is a tradition that they were 
first grown close to the Temple in the gardens of the Earls 
and Dukes of Lancaster at the Savoy ; but so far as we can 
now ascertain, the old, single, white or pink ^ dog rose " 
was the only one known, and it may well have been in- 
digenous. In a manuscript illuminated in northern France 
towards the end of the Fifteenth Century, and full of 
pictures of garden flowers, only single roses are rep- 

Edmund Burke was of the ^^ Middle Temple," and lived 
at the ^^ Pope's Head,'' over the shop of Jacob Robinson, 
bookseller and publisher, just within the Inner Temple 
Gateway. He left the Temple in 1756 on his marriage, 
and went to live in Wimpole Street. He attained a small 
local fame as a debater while he was at Robinson's, for he 
used to air his eloquence at a club held in Essex Street in 
the Robin Hood Tavern, which has long disappeared. 
There are no memories of Tliomas Moore in the Middle 
Temple, except that he entered his name as a student in 
1799, but he did not live within the lawyers' precincts. 
Neither did Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who was entered as 
a student in 1772. Among Middle Templars of minor 
literary eminence may be enumerated Sir John Davies, one 
of the poetical stars of the spacious times of great Eliza- 
beth; Sir Thomas Overbury, whose tragical death by 
poison in the Tower made such a stir; John Ford, the 
dramatist; Wycherley, Shadwell, and Congreve; and 
Elias Ashmole, the antiquary. 

At the foot of the slope south of the hall and the foun- 
tain is the new Library. It is in a Gothic — z very Gothic 


— Style, and was designed by H. R. Abraham. The 
Prince of Wales, who was called to the bar and admitted a 
bencher of Middle Temple, opened it on the same day, 
namely, 31st October, 1861. There are two storeys of 
offices and chambers underneath the storey in which the 
library itself is situated. This makes the building look so 
much out of proportion, that when a visitor ascends the 
very picturesque outside staircase to the door and enters, 
he is surprised at the beauty of a really fine apartment, 
eighty-six feet long, with an open hammer-beam roof, 
imitated rather closely from that of Westminster Hall. 
The roof is sixty-three feet to the apex, and the whole 
library is forty-two feet in width, the appearance of which 
is of course diminished by the lining of cupboards and 
bookcases. There is a fine oriel projecting ten feet at the 
upper end, and many other windows decorated with 
heraldic glass in a good style. Herbert, writing at the 
beginning of this century, says there are many valuable 
manuscripts. I have not been accorded permission to see 
them. The library is said to be in part outside the strict 
limits of the Middle Temple ; but the successive embank- 
ments which have taken place here have added considerably 
to the narrow limits of the last century. To judge 
adequately of the exterior of the new library, the visitor 
should not confine himself to the view from the fountain 
terrace, but should proceed by a narrow passage, from 
which he can emerge on the south side and look back up 
the hill. On his left is the curious old arch, which ap- 
pears in some very old views as the water-gate of Essex 
House. This now leads up a stairway to Essex Street. 
The green gardens stretch away to the right ; two promi- 
nent buildings, before the eye reaches the city, crowned by 
St. Paul's, being the new Sion College and the City of 


London School. On a fine day this view up or down the 
river is very striking. It is marred, no doubt, here and 
there by ugly and ill-proportioned buildings, but no view in 
London is without this defect. 

The Temple Gardens are well known for the chrysan- 
themum shows held annually at the close of the Long Va- 
cation* The two societies are supposed to be in rivalry in 
these exhibitions, and there are two separate tents or sheds i 
but they are close together, at the same comer of the 
gardens, near the Embankment, so that they are very ac- 
cessible, and are laigely visited while they remain open. 
The gardens in the summer months are full of children. 
I never pass a small family there without a thought of 
Charles Lamb, who sported on the same spot as a child and 
played tricks with the mechanism of the old fountain. 

There are still two or three old sun-dials left. One is 
opposite the hall and bears the motto, '^ Pereunt et impu- 
tantur.'* In Brick Court there is another with this motto, 
^^ Time and tide tarry for no man." The dial in Pump 
Court is occasionally painted up. It bears an inscription in 
two lines in old-fashioned letters : — 

" Shadows we are and 
like shadows deptrt.'' 

The saddest of these mottoes is, or was, in Essex Court : 
'^ Vestigia nulla retrorsum." Its appropriateness to one of 
the most frequented entrances of the lawyers' domain may 
be doubted, unless it is intended as a warning to those who 
would rashly go to law : ^^ The downhill path is easy, but 
there's no. turning back." 



OF the numerous receptacles for miseiy and distress 
with which the streets of London unhappily 
abound, there are, perhaps, none which present 
such striking scenes as the pawnbrokers' shops. The very 
nature and description of these places occasion their being 
but little known, except to the unfortunate beings whose 
profligacy or misfortune drives them to seek the temporary 
relief they oflFen The subject may appear, at first sight, 
to be anything but an inviting one, but we venture on it 
nevertheless, in the hope that, as far as the limits of our 
present paper are concerned, it will present nothing to dis- 
gust, even the most fastidious reader. 

There are some pawnbrokers' shops of a very superior 
description. There are grades in pawning as in everything 
else, and distinctions must be observed even in poverty. 
The aristocratic Spanish cloak and the plebeian calico shirt, 
the silver fork and the flat iron, the muslin cravat and the 
Belcher neckerchief, would but ill assort together \ so, the 
better sort of pawnbroker calls himself a silversmith, and 
decorates his shop with handsome trinkets and expensive 
jewelleiy, while the more humble money-lender boldly ad- 
vertises his calling, and invites observation. It is with 
pawnbrokers' shops of the latter class, that we have to do. 
We have selected one for our purpose, and will endeavour 
to describe it. 

The pawnbroker's shop is situated near Drury Lane, at 



a comer of a court, which affords a side entrance for the 
accommodation of such customers as may be desirous of 
avoiding the observation of the passers-by, or the chance of 
recognition in the public street. It is a low, dirty-looking, 
dusty shop, the door of which stands always doubtfully, a 
little way open, half inviting, half repelling the hesitating 
visitor, who, if he be as yet Uninitiated, examines one of 
the old garnet brooches in the window for a minute or two 
with aiFected eagerness, as if he contemplated making a 
purchase; and then looking cautiously round to ascertain 
that no one watches him, hastily slinks in ; the door closing 
of itself after him, to just its former width. The shop front 
and the window panes bear evident marks of having been 
once painted; but what the colour was originally, or at 
what date it was probably laid on, are at this remote period 
questions which may be asked, but cannot be answered. 
Tradition states that the transparency in the front door 
which displays at night three red balls on a blue ground, 
once bore also, inscribed in graceful waves, the words 
^^ Money advanced on plate, jewels, wearing apparel, and 
every description of property," but a few illegible hieroglyph- 
ics are all that now remain to attest the fact. The plate 
and jewels would seem to have disappeared, together with 
the announcement, for the articles of stock which are dis- 
played in some profusion in the window, do not include any 
very valuable luxuries of either kind. A few old china 
cups ; some modern vases, adorned with paltiy paintings 
of three Spanish cavaliers playing three Spanish guitars ; or 
a party of boors carousing : each boor with one leg pain- 
fully elevated in the air, by way of expressing his perfect 
freedom and gaiety ; several sets of chessmen, two or three 
flutes, a few fiddles, a round-eyed portrait staring in as- 
tonishment from a very dark ground ; some gaudily-bound 


prayer-books and testaments, two rows of silver watches 
quite as clumsy and almost as large as Fei^guson's first ; 
numerous old-fashioned table and tea spoons, displayed, fan- 
like, in half-dozens ; strings of coral with great broad gilt 
snaps ; cards of rings and brooches, fastened and labelled 
separately, like the insects in ^he British Museum i cheap 
silver penholders and snuiF-boxes, with a masonic star, com- 
plete the jewellery department ^ while five or six beds in 
smeary clouded ticks, strings of blankets and sheets, silk 
and cotton handkerchiefs, and wearing apparel of every 
description, form the more useful, though even less orna- 
mental, part, of the articles exposed for sale. An exten- 
sive collection of planes, chisels, saws, and other car- 
penters' tools, which have been pledged, and never re- 
deemed, form the foreground of the picture; while the 
lai]ge frames full of ticketed bundles, which are dimly seen 
through the dirty casement up-stairs — ^the squalid neigh- 
bourhood — ^the adjoining houses straggling, shrunken, and 
rotten, with one or two filthy, unwholesome-looking heads, 
thrust out of every window, and old red pans and stunted 
plants exposed on the tottering parapets, to the manifest 
hazard of the heads of the passers-by — the noisy men 
loitering under the archway at the corner of the court, 
or about the gin-shop next door — and their wives 
patiently standing on the curbstone, with large baskets of 
cheap vegetables slung round them for sale, are its imme- 
diate auxiliaries. 

If the outside of the pawnbroker's shop be calculated to 
attract the attention, or excite the interest, of the specula- 
tive pedestrian, its interior cannot fail to produce the same 
effect in an increased degree. The front door, which we 
have before noticed, opens into the common shop, which is 
the resort of all those customers whose habitual acquaint- 


ance with such scenes renders them indifFerent to the ob- 
servation of their companions in poverty. The side-do^r 
opens into a small passage from which some half-dozen 
doors (which may be secured on the inside by bolts) open 
into a corresponding number of little dens or closets^ which 
face the counter. Here the more timid or respectable por- 
tion of the crowd shroud themselves from the notice of the 
remainder, and patiently wait until the gentleman behind 
the counter, with the curly black hair, diamond ring, and 
double silver watch-guard shall feel disposed to favour them 
with his notice — a consummation which depends consider- 
ably on the temper of the aforesaid gentleman for the time 

At the present moment, this el^antly-attired individual 
is in the act of entering the duplicate he has just made out, 
in a thick book ; a process from which he is diverted oc- 
casionally, by a conversation he is carrying on with another 
young man similarly employed at a little distance from him, 
whose allusions to ^^that last bottle of soda-water last 
night," and ^^ how regularly round my hat he felt himself 
when the young 'ooman gave 'em in charge," would appear 
to refer to the consequences of some stolen joviality of the 
preceding evening. The customers generally, however, 
seem unable to participate in the amusement derivable from 
this source, for an old sallow-looking woman, who has been 
leaning with both arms on the counter with a small bundle 
before her, for half an hour previously, suddenly interrupts 
the conversation by addressing the jewelled shopman — 
^^Now, Mr. Henry, do make haste, there's a good soul, for 
my two grandchildren's locked up at home, and I'm afeer'd 
of the fire." The shopman slightly raises his head, with 
an air of deep abstraction, and resumes his entry with as 
much deliberation as if he were engraving. ^^ You're in a 


hurry, Mrs. Tatham, this ev'nin% an't you ? " is the only 
notice he deigns to take, after the lapse of five minutes or 
so. ^^ Yes, I am indeed, Mr. Henry ; now, do serve me 
next, there's a good creetur. I wouldn't worry you, only 
it's all along o' them botherin' children." ^ What have 
you got here?" inquires the shopman, unpinning the 
bundle — ^^^old concern, I suppose — pair o' stays and a 
petticut. You must look up somethin' else, old 'ooman ; I 
can't lend you anything more upon them, they're com- 
pletely worn out by this time, if it's only by putting in, 
and taking out again, three times a week." ^^ Oh ! you're 
a rum un, you are," replies the old woman, laughing ex- 
tremely, as in duty bound : ^^ I wish I'd got the gift of the 
gab like you ; see if I'd be up the spout so often then ! No, 
no ; it an't the petticut ; it's a child's frock and a beautiful 
silk-ankecher as belongs to my husband. He gave four 
shillin' for it, the werry same blessed day as he broke his 
arm." " What do you want upon these ? " inquires Mr. 
Henry, slightly glancing at the articles, which in all proba- 
bility are old acquaintances. ^^ What do you want upon 
these?" — ^** Eighteenpence." — ^"Lend you ninepence." — 
^^Oh, make it a shillin'; there's a dear — do now!" — 
" Not another farden." — ^^ Well, I suppose I must take 
it." The duplicate is made out, one ticket pinned on the 
parcel, the other given to the old woman ; the parcel is 
flung carelessly down into a comer, and some other customer 
prefers his claim to be served without further delay. 

The choice falls on an unshaven, dirty, sottish-looking 
fellow, whose tarnished paper-cap, stuck negligently over 
one eye, communicates an additionally repulsive expression 
to his very uninviting countenance. He was enjoying a 
little relaxation from his sedentary pursuits a quarter of an 
hour ago, in kicking his wife up the court. He has come 


to redeem some tools : — probably to complete a job with, on 
account of which he has already received some money, if 
his inflamed countenance and drunken stagger, may be 
taken as evidence of the fact. Having waited some little 
time, he makes his presence known by venting his ill- 
humour on a ragged urchin, who, being unable to bring his 
face on a level with the counter by any other process, has 
employed himself in climbing up, and then hooking himself 
on with his elbows — an uneasy perch, from which he has 
fallen at intervals, generally alighting on the toes of the 
person in his immediate vicinity. In the present case, the 
unfortunate little wretch has received a cuiF which sends 
him reeling to the door ; and the donor of the blow is im- 
mediately the object of general indignation. 

'' What do you strike the boy for, you brute ? " exclaims 
a slip-shod woman, with two flat irons in a little basket. 
" Do you think he's your wife, you willin ? *' — " Go and 
hang yourself ! " replies the gentleman addressed, with a 
drunken look of savage stupidity, aiming at the same time 
a blow at the woman which fortunately misses its object. 
^^Go and hang yourself; and wait till I come and cut you 
down." — ^^ Cut you down," rejoins the woman, " I wish I 
had the cutting of you up, you wagabond ! (loud.) Oh I 
you precious wagabond ! (rather louder.) Where's your 
wife, you willin ? (louder still ; women of this class are 
always sympathetic, and work themselves into a tremendous 
passion on the shortest notice.) Your poor dear wife as 
you uses worser nor a dog — ^strike a woman — ^you a man ! 
(very shrill ;) I wish I had you — I'd murder you, I would, 
if I died for it ! " — " Now be civil," retorts the man fiercely. 
^^ Be civil, you wiper ! " ejaculates the woman contemp- 
tuously, ^^ An't it shocking ? " she continues, turning round, 
and appealing to an old woman who is peeping out of one 


of the little closets we have before described, and who has 
not the slightest objection to join in the attack, possessing, 
as she does, the comfortable conviction that she is bolted 
in. ^ An't it shocking, ma'am ? (Dreadful ! says the old 
woman in a parenthesis, not exactly knowing what the 
question refers to.) He's got a wife, ma'am, as takes in 
mangling, and is as 'dustrious* and hard-working a young 
'ooman as can be, (very fast) as lives in the back-parlour of 
our 'ouse, which imy husband and me lives in the front one 
(with great rapidity) — and we hears him a beaten' on her 
sometimes when he comes home drunk, the whole night 
through, and not only a beaten' her, but beaten' his own 
child too, to make her more miserable — ugh, you beast ! 
and she, poor creetur, won't swear the peace agin him, nor 
do nothin', because she likes the wretch arter all — ^worse 
luck ! " Here as the woman has completely run herself 
out of breath, the pawnbroker himself, who has just ap- 
peared behind the counter in a grey dressing-gown, em- 
braces the favourable opportunity of putting in a word : — 
" Now I won't have none of this sort of thing on my 
premises ! " he interposes with an air of authority. ^^ Mrs. 
Mackin, keep yourself to yourself, or you don't get four- 
pence for a flat iron here; and Jinkins, you leave your 
ticket here till you're sober, and send your wife for them 
two planes, for I won't have you in my shop at no price ; 
so make yourself scarce, before I make you scarcer." 

This eloquent address produces anything but the effect 
desired; the women rail in concert; the man hits about 
him in all directions, and is in the act of establishing an in- 
disputable claim to gratuitous lodgings for the night, when 
the entrance of his wife, a wretched worn-out woman, ap- 
parently in the last stage of consumption, whose face bears 
evident marks of recent ill-usage, and whose strength seems 


hardly equal to the burden — light enough God knows ! — 
of the thin sickly child she carries in her arms^ turns his 
cowardly rage in a safer direction. ^^ Come home, dear," 
cries the miserable creature, in an imploring tone ; do come 
home, there's a good fellow, and go to bed."— ^ Go home 
yourself," rejoins the furious ruffian. ^' Do come home 
quietly," repeats the wife, bursting into tears. ^ Go home 
yourself," retorts the husband again, enforcing his aigument 
by a blow which sends the poor creature flying out of the 
shop. Her ^' natural .protector " follows her up the court, 
alternately venting his rage in accelerating her progress, and 
in knocking the little scanty blue bonnet of the unfortunate 
child over its still more scanty and faded-looking face. 

In the last box, which is situated in the darkest and most 
obscure comer of the shop, considerably removed from 
either of the gas-lights, are a young delicate girl of about 
twenty and an elderly female, evidently her mother from 
the resemblance between them, who stand at some distance 
back, as if to avoid the observation even of the shopman. 
It is not their first visit to a pawnbroker's shop, for they 
answer without a moment's hesitation the usual questions, 
put in a rather respectful manner, and in a much lower tone 
than usual, of ^^ What name shall I say ? — ^Your own prop- 
erty, of course ? — ^Wherc do you live ? — Housekeeper or 
lodger ? " They bargain, too, for a higher loan than the 
shopman is at first inclined to offer, which a perfect stranger 
would be little disposed to do ; and the elder female urges 
her daughter on, in scarcely audible whispers, to exert her 
utmost powers of persuasion to obtain an advance of the 
sum, and expatiate on the value of the articles they have 
brought to raise a present supply upon. They are a small 
gold chain and a ^^ Forget me not " ring : the girl's prop- 
erty, for they are both too small for the mother \ given her 


in better times ; prized, perhaps, once, for the giver's sake, 
but parted with now without a struggle; for want has 
hardened the mother, and her example has hardened the 
girl, and the prospect of receiving money, coupled with the 
recollection of the misery they have both endured from the 
want of it — ^the coldness of old friends — the stem refusal 
of some, and the still more galling compassion of others — 
appears to have obliterated the consciousness of self-humil- 
iation, which the idea of their present situation would once 
have aroused. 

In the next box, is a young female, whose attire, miser- 
ably poor, but extremely gaudy, wretchedly cold, but ex- 
travagantly fine, too plainly bespeaks her station. The rich 
satin gown with its faded trimmings, the worn-out thin 
shoes, and pink silk stockings, the summer bonnet in 
winter, and the sunken face, where a daub of rouge only 
serves as an index to the ravages of squandered health never 
to be regained, and lost happiness never to be restored, and 
where the practised smile is a wretched mockery of the 
misery of the heart, cannot be mistaken. There is some- 
thing in the glimpse she has just caught of her young 
neighbour, and in the sight of the little trinkets she has of- 
fered in pawn, that seems to have awakened in this woman's 
mind some slumbering recollection, and to have changed, 
for an instant, her whole demeanour. Her first hasty im- 
pidse was to bend forward as if to scan more minutely the 
appearance of her half-concealed companions i her next on 
seeing them involuntarily shrink from her, to retreat to the 
back of the box, cover her face with her hands, and burst 
into tears. 

There are strange chords in the human heart which will 
lie dormant through years of depravity and wickedness, but 
which will vibrate at last to some slight circumstance ap- 


parently trivial in itself, but connected by some undefined 
and indistinct association, with past days that can never be 
recalled, and with bitter recollections from which the most 
degraded creature in existence cannot escape. 

There has been another spectator, in the person of a 
woman in the common shop ; the lowest of the low ; 
dirty, unbonneted, flaunting and slovenly. Her curiosity 
was at first attracted by the little she could see of the group ; 
then her attention. The half intoxicated leer changed to 
an expression of something like interest, and a feeling sim* 
ilar to that we have described, appeared for a moment, and 
only a moment, to extend itself even to her bosom. 

Who shall say how soon these women may change 
places ? The last has but two more stages — the hospital 
and the grave. How many females situated as her two 
companions are, and as she may have been once, have 
terminated the same wretched course, in the same wretched 
manner. One is already tracing her footsteps with fright- 
ful rapidity. How soon may the other follow her ex- 
ample ! How many have done the same I 



HYDE PARK was formerly part of the Manor of 
Eia, and, at the compilation of the Domesday 
book, it was in a high state of cultivation. This 
manor was afterwaids split into three — Hyde, Ebury, and 
Neate. With the two latter we have nothing to do, but 
they all belonged to the great Monastery of St. Peter at 
Westminster. Hyde Park passed into royal hands by pur* 
chase and exchange, and was particularly used as a hunting- 
ground by Henry VIII., who reserved to himself the right 
of hunting from the king's palace at Westminster to Hamp- 
stead Heath. 

That stranger who would know much of London's great 
park does well to begin his walk of exploration at Hamilton 
Place, the last street in Piccadilly. This was so called 
from James Hamilton, a Keeper of the pafk in 1660, who 
had the concession of a triangular piece of ground, in the 
extreme south-east comer of the [tark— on which had stood 
one of the forts erected by the Parliament for the defence 
of London. He also had a lease of fifty-five acres of the 
park wherein to grow apples in consideration of which he 
had to give the king half the produce of his orchard, in 
apples or cider at his Majesty's option. The two last of 
the noble mansions facing the road are respectively those 
of Lord Rothschild and the Duke of Wellington. The 
latter is Apsley House : and there is a little story told about 
the ground on which it stands. In the reign of George II. 



a discharged soldier, named Allen, had an apple-stall here, 
close to the wooden gates which then formed the entrance 
into the park. He somehow attracted the attention of the 
King, who, upon learning that he had fought at Dettingen, 
asked what he could do for him. Allen asked for the 
grant of the bit of land on which his hut and apple-stall 
stood, and the boon was granted. In 1784, Allen's repre- 
sentative sold the ground to Henry, Lord Apsley, who was 
then Lord Chancellor, and who built a red house thereon. 
In 1820, it was purchased by the nation, and settled on the 
great Arthur, Duke of Wellington, and his heirs for ever, 
but it had to be rebuilt. Many of my readers will remem- 
ber the bullet-proof iron shutters to those windows facing 
Piccadilly, which were always closed from 183 1 till 1856. 
In the former year the Duke was very unpopular, as he 
opposed the Reform Bill, and the mob smashed all his 
windows. Years afterwards, when entering his gate amid 
the cheers of the crowd, he pointed mockingly to his shut- 
ters and entered his house. Exactly opposite Apsley House 
is an equestrian statue of the duke, with figures of four 
Waterloo soldiers at the base by Boehm, which was un- 
veiled by the Prince of Wales, December 21st, 1888. 
This took the place of one which weighed forty tons, and 
which surmounted the arch, now forming an entrance into 
the Green Park, but which then stood on Constitution Hill. 
This was set up in 1846, taken down in 1883, and imme- 
diately re-erected at Aldershot Camp. 

The old wooden gates, which used to give entrance to 
the park at this spot, were, in 1,827, i^P^aced by the present 
handsome screen by Burton, and were it only finished as 
designed, with groups of statuary on the top, it would be 
very fine. Looking northward, past the newspaper kiosk 
(which with the other at Cumberland Gate have only been 

,. V N r- "* ^ ^- ,, 


introduced within the last year^), we see the Achilles 
Statue, which was the first public nude statue in England. 
It is taken from a marble statue which formed part of a 
group on the Quirinal Hill at Rome — which has been 
christened Achilles for no particular reason, but that 
it seemed applicable to a monument from the ladies of 
England to the hero of the day — ^the Duke of Wellington. 
The Pope gave the casts, the Ordnance Office found the 
metal from captured French cannon, the Government gave 
the site, and yet the statue cost ;f 10,000 before it was erected. 

On entering the park at Hyde Park Comer, on the left 
hand thence are two roads. One ^^ the Carriage Road," 
skirts the high road, the other is more in the park and 
called Rotten Row, but the destination of both is alike — 
Kensington Gaidens. In Roque's map, 1 741- 1745, the 
first is called ^^ The King's New Road " and the other 
^^ The King's Old Road." Soon after the accession of 
William III. and his purchase of Kensington Palace, his 
route from St. James's Palace to his residence lay through 
the Green Park and the King's Road in Hyde Park, and, 
finding it dark at night, he had it lit by three hundred 
lamps. The New Road was not made till 1737. There 
has been much dispute as to the etymology of Rotten Row, 
whether it came from Route du Roij or King's Road, or 
from the Celtic Rathad^n Righ, which has the same mean- 
ing, and is in use in many towns in Scotland. Others say 
the loose and sandy nature of the road gave to it the name. 
The reader may well be left to take his choice. 

Walking along the north side of the Row, so plentifully 
supplied with seats, we come to a charming little bit, almost 
too fairy-like for London ; it is called ^^ the Dell," and is 
formed by the overflow of the Serpentine. Here the 


pigeons (amongst them some wild wood-pigeons) resort, and 
the water-lilies grow in the little stream whose sloping 
banks are a mass of palms, bananas, and sub-tropical plants. 
Another, but totally difFerenty view of it can be got from 
the bridge, near which is a stone commemorating one of 
the conduits, which used to supply the monastery of West- 
minster with water. At the foot of the dell is a monolith, 
which came from Moorswater, in the parish of Liskeard, 
Cornwall, where it was quarried on January 3d, 1862. It 
was simply placed there for ornamental purposes. 

Continuing our walk on the north side of the Row, we 
see to the south the new Cavalry Barracks at Knights- 
bridge, and between the New Ride and the Row is a Champ 
de Mars^ on which was erected the great Exhibition of 

Having now walked as far west as Hyde Park extends, 
let us look down Rotten Row, and, if it be in the season, 
and about i p. m., we shall see a sight unequalled in any 
country ; the whole thronged with fair women and well- 
dressed men mounted on horses such as can be matched 
nowhere else. After luncheon time it is deserted, but if 
we go there early in the morning before breakfast, we shall 
find it fairly full of those who are riding solely for exercise 
sake — lawyers, statesmen, men of business, and not a few 
young ladies whose fresh colour shows that the London 
season and bicycling do not affect their health. 

Turning sharply northward we come to the bridge which 
separates the Serpentine from the Long Water in Kensing- 
ton Gardens. The Serpentine originally was fed by a small 
stream called the West Bourne, which came from Hamp- 
stead, ran through the park, which it left about Albert Gate, 
where was a bridge (whence the name Knightsbridge), and 
flowed thence by what are now William Street, Lowndes 


Square, and Chesham Street, falling intathe Thames near 
Ranelagh. For this lake in the park we are indebted to 
Queen Caroline, wife to George IL, and it was supposed to 
be made to her own cost, but when she died, it was found 
that she had left the king to pay about ;^20,ooo on ac- 
count of it. The Serpentine was thoroughly cleaned out, 
its holes filled up, and its bed thoroughly levelled in Sep- 
tember, 1855, at which time the West Bourne (which had 
become a common sewer) was diverted into a different 
channel, and the water is now provided by the Chelsea 
Water Company. The southern bank is used for bathing, 
and there are a few hardy persons who bathe there all the 
year round. Tliis sheet of water, too, carries many pleas- 
ure boats, is a famous racing place for model yachts, and in 
winter there is occasionally good skating thereon. It was 
the scene of a mimic naval engagement, called a Naumachia^ 
on the occasion of the ^^ Jubilee,'' August ist, 1814, to 
celebrate the conclusion of peace with France and the 
centenary of the accession of Geoi^e I. The vessels were 
ships' boats rigged as mimic men-of-war, and the Battle of 
the Nile which took place on August ist, 1798, was fought 
in miniature. On the Coronation of George IV. there was 
boat racing on the lake and a water pageant. 

Crossing the bridge, we find the Powder Magazine, 
whence start in the early London season the Four-in-Hand 
and Coaching Clubs. Let us follow the north bank of the 
Serpentine, down the road called the Ring and the Ladies' 
Mile, which was widened and much improved in 1852, and 
which, before noon, is, in the season, crowded with bicycle 
riders of both sexes. About the middle of the Serpentine 
is an island, which was made for the convenience of the 
waterfowl, and fronting it is the Receiving House of the 
Royal Humane Society, which stands nearly on the site of 


an old cottage called the Cheesecake House, where simple 
refreshments were sold — even as far back as Pepys' time. 
Behind this, and taking up a great portion of the park, is 
a large enclosure, which contains the deputy ranger's house 
and grounds, together with a store-yard ; whilst north of it 
are a police station, military store office, and a guard-house 
with a small magazine. To the eastward of this are the 
remains of the old ^^ Ring," which was the fashionable 
drive in the time of Charles II., especially on the first of 
May, when the carriages appeared newly gilt and varnished, 
the coachmen and footmen had new liveries, and the 
horses' manes and tails were adorned with coloured ribbons. 
Here, not only Cromwell's daughters used to show them- 
selves, but so did Charles 11. and Lady Castlemaine, and it 
was near here, that one day, after dinner, Cromwell, who 
would drive six spirited horses, and thrashed them so that 
they ran away, was thrown off the box, and hurt his ankle. 
It was also in Hyde Park that an attempt was made to 
shoot him. Now the Ring, where the elite of society go 
every afternoon to '^ eat the air," to see and to be seen, is 
round the park, or turning by the magazine, down by the 
north bank of the Serpentine. 

Near the Royal Humane Society's Receiving House are 
two fine old pollard elms, beneath the shade of which tra- 
dition says was fought the famous duel between Lord 
Mohun and the Duke of Hamilton, November 15th, 17 12. 
Hyde Park was the scene of many duels ; but I have never 
been able to find out when the last took place. The last 
fracas in Hyde Park that I can trace took place on July 
1 2th, 1870, between Majors Gordon and Kane, retired 
officers in the Indian service, the combatants belabouring 
each other with their sticks, in retaliation for an affront al- 
leged to have been offered at a private dinner table. 



THE old smaller squares in London are very inter- 
esting from their tranquil, retired air and antique 
pattern, and venerable trees. None is more 
characteristic than Queen Square in Bloomsbury, with its 
pleasant Queen Anne and Georgian houses running round. 
Most of these inclosures were laid out originally after the 
Dutch manner, which is still apparent. It must be a curi- 
ous solitary sensation to live in one of these retreats, and 
they are affected by students and literary men. Old 
fashion, indeed, reigns in Queen Square, though now they 
have pulled down some of the houses to rear hospitals. 
The houses have a pleasant tranquil air, though within they 
are gloomy enough. Every one knows the curious half 
solemnity, half chill inspired by an old Queen Anne house, 
such as one has experienced in Church Row, Hampstead. 
Here you would think you were miles away from town, in 
some sleepy suburb. At the upper end lived Dr. Charles 
Burney — ^the father of the brilliant Fanny Burney — in a 
house which had been inhabited by Alderman Barber, and 
to which Swift was accustomed to resort. This house, I 
fancy, was one of those recently pulled down to give place 
to the hospital. In this worthy mansion one has the inter- 
est that one takes in all connected with Johnson. 

Not far away is another antique square, very old-fash- 
ioned and with good houses. Red Lion Square. The in- 



closures of both these places have more the air of 
"grounds" than of the prim and trim modem square. 
There is a certain wildness and the grass grows carelessly. 
But it is now completely invaded by business, and every 
house is subdivided into offices. Curious little foot-alleys 
lead into it from various quarters. 

Another interesting little square is one yclept Golden. 
Many a Londoner scarcely knows of its existence, and 
many more have never seen it ; yet it is within a stone's 
throw of Regent Street. It is prettily proportioned, the 
grass flourishing with extraordinary greenness, and in the 
centre rises an effective statue. Not so many years ago 
private persons of high respectability lived here, among 
others Cardinal Wiseman. Now it is entirely given over 
to commercial offices, and has a busy air in consequence. 
It would seem strange now to look for any person of con- 
dition residing here. Some of the most forlorn and dismal 
places are those curious squares found in the long roads 
that lead out of London. There is one such near the Old 
Kent Road, built in a pretentious style and now utterly 
gone to seed and decay. All the doorways, of a curious 
pattern, are the same, so are all the windows. No one 
walks there, no custom appears to visit it. It seems one 
mass of abandonment and we hurry away depressed. Soho 
Square is really quaint and interesting ; it is in a sound and 
flourishing condition ; and so full of interest, that a small 
book has been written on its history. Nothing is more 
pleasing than the sudden glimpse that is obtained of it from 
Oxford Street, or from Dean Street, its fine old trees 
spreading out umbrageously. The old houses have a 
quaint, solid air, notably those at the comers. Still 
flourishes the old Soho Bazaar at one .comer, a visit to 
which in days gone by was thought a treat and a wonder 




* \ 


for children. The houses, with the streets surrounding, 
are valuable as suggesting how old London of a hundred 
and fifty years back must have looked. It can have been 
little altered, and though shops have been opened in many 
of the lower stories, these have in many instances retained 
their old parlour shape. One is struck by the handsome 
quality of the mansions, the sound, solid doors, and the 
^detached'' character of each house; that is, each was 
finished by itself, and not built in ^ rows." A long blank 
wall pierced with windows, now a chapel, was formerly 
Mrs. Comely's Ridotto Rooms. On the same side of 
Soho Square we may note a singularly handsome house, 
architectural in its bold pUaster^^ and cornices, and the 
cheerful red of its brick, which suggests that famous old 
Inigo Jones's house in Great Queen Street. This impo- 
sing-looking edifice belongs to the flourishing firm of Crosse 
and Blackwell, who have taken pains to keep it in sound 
condition, and have fitted up one of the handsome old 
chambers as a sort of baronial hall, with oaken panellings 
and ornamental chimney. Wardour Street is suspiciously 
close at hand, but the spirit that prompted the work was 
good. Some of the houses display curious devices — faces, 
roses, and fleur-de-lys. Close by, in Oxford Street, we 
find the wine-famed Messrs. Gilbey in occupation of a 
rather stately building with a heavy porch and architectural 
front. It is long foxgotten now that this was erst the 
Pantheon, originally one of the most beautiful buildings 
ever erected in London, as we can learn from the fine series 
of engraved plates published in its heyday. The interior 
was burnt early in the century, and it was reconstructed, 
but not with the same magnificence. It has a curious his- 
tory therefore — being used as an opera house, and a place 
of entertainment for assemblies. A well-known man of 


fashion in Sheridan's days, Colonel Greville, was much 
concerned with its fortunes. 

Indeed, a history of the London squares would have ex- 
traordinary interest and romance, and there are many odd 
details associated with them. Who knows, for instance, 
that the eminently grave and respectable mansions round 
Russell Square were actually built out of the square itself? 
— ^the bricks being obtained from an immense pit dug in the 
centre, which still lies in a hollow. The air of Portman 
Square used to have a reputation for extreme salubrity and 
mildness, and Mrs. Montagu — who lived in one of the 
comer houses and entertained her chimney sweeps there — 
used to declare that ^^ it was the Montpelier of her Eng- 
land." One of the most genuine and truly old fashioned 
squares is Berkeley Square — where the trees are ancient, 
their branches spreading away close to the ground. The 
grass seems extra rich and green, as though long laid down. 
Of a sunny day there is a most picturesque effect from the 
shade cast on the grass by the branches. We seem to be 
straying in some old park, and there is a tranquil retired air. 
These little effects are overlooked by the incurious 
sojourners in town. Belgrave Square dates from only the 
year 1825, and was the work of the Messrs. Cubitt, the 
houses being designed by an Italian. Hanover Square and 
George Street adjoining, is certainly one of the most 
notable and characteristic portions of London, for its 
alipost picturesque old houses. These are in fine condition, 
but so familiar is the locality that few will perhaps have 
taken note of them. The square and street date from the 
time of George L, and, it is stated, ^^ exhibit many examples 
of the German style of architecture in private houses." 
Indeed we have only to pause before some of the houses at 
the upper end of George Street to see the truth of this. 


Within there are fine specimens of staircases and panel- 
lings. ^^ The view down George Street, from the upper 
end of the square is one of the most interesting in the 
whole city ; the sides of the square, the area in the middle, 
the breaks of building that form the entrance of the vista, 
the vista itself, but above all, the beautiful projection of the 
portico of St. George's Church, are all circumstances that 
unite in beauty and render the scene perfect." Mr. Malton 
says : ^* This view has more the air of an Italian scene 
than any other in London." Harewood House, on the 
north side of the square, was built for the late Duke of 
Roxburghe, but purchased by Lord Harewood ; it was de- 
signed, as can be seen at the first glance by the Adams. 
These tall houses of Geoige Street, with their bright 
cheerful tint, their long windows, have within fine spacious 
staircases of infinite variety, walls handsomely panelled and 
richly decorated, and, above all, fine ceilings elaborately 
wrought in good old stucco work. In some of the houses 
the drawing-room walls are set off with medallions in low 
relief of the Wedgewood pattern. This old stucco work 
is now a lost and beautiful art. Mr. Aitcheson, the ac- 
complished architect, has recently explained its true 
principles, which are totally at variance with the modern 
system. One of the most attractive of the houses here is 
the Arts Club — a fine, interesting specimen, with rather 
florid ceilings exhibiting a very delicate work, fine inlaid 
marble chimney-pieces, and a ^^flowing " staircase. Though 
a small mansion, it oflers that curious air of spaciousness 
which arises from the sense of proportion being duly felt 
and carried out. 

While wandering through the immediate district of Han- 
over Square, where the same school of architects seems to 
have inspired the work, I came on a house of pretension 


which many an explorer would overlook, and which has 
certainly escaped the notice of the careless wanderer. At 
the top of Old Burlington Street is a large mansion, a centre 
block and two wings, which now does duty as two or three 
distinct establishments. One wing forms the entrance and 
hall, with a circular stair built into a sort of rotunda, from 
which open richly-carved doors and doorways. Tlie other 
wing is pierced by a long tunnel which leads by a kind of 
alley to St. George's Church. The centre block is given 
over to a house agent. Here too is abundance of mouldings 
and decorations, with a monumental fireplace, over which 
is a sort of panelled chimney-piece. This contrast with 
the practical uses for which the place serves is curious. 
Behind is a large building or hall which can be scarcely 
made out from the street, so built in is it. This is now 
known as the Burlington Hall, and used as a Young Men's 
Association. This place, with all its dependencies, must 
date from the middle of last century. 

Portman and Cavendish Squares offer a great variety of 
mansions, well built and well designed — such specimens of 
the interiors as I have seen are remarkable for their noble 
stone staircases, florid ironwork railings, and heavily pan- 
elled walls. The beautiful solid work with which noble- 
men and gentlemen used to adorn their mansions can be 
well illustrated by a casual instance which lately came under 
my notice. A gentleman who was fitting up his West End 
House was informed by his builders that a mansion was 
being pulled down in Grosvenor Street, I think, and that 
some of the fittings could be secured for the usual ^^ old 
song." Among these were a set of massive mahogany 
doors — partes battantes — of the finest description, the mould- 
ings being set off with richly gilt brass. 

St. James's Square has a cheerful dignity of its own : one 


of the most dramatic incidents of the century took place in 
one of the houses. When the issue of the battle of Water- 
loo was unknown, a wealthy Mrs. Boehm was giving a 
grand ball, at which the Regent was present. All the rank 
and fashion of London were there, the windows lit up and 
open, for the night was sultry ; the crowd gathered thickly, 
looking up at the festivity and the clustered figures. It was 
after midnight, when a roar came from the distant streets, 
which increased and swelled, and was borne into the room, 
l^he dancing stopped, and those looking on witnessed an 
indescribable scene of tumult and joy. A chaise and four 
approached — flags projecting from the windows : an officer. 
Major Percy, leaped out, carrying his flags, rushed up-stairs, 
and coming up straight to the Prince, knelt on one knee 
and announced the great victory. Poor Mrs. Boehm's ball 
was ruined, for the Prince and everyone departed instantly. 
But the scene rises before us on some of the summer nights 
when festivity is going on in the square. 

How very few " West-enders " have penetrated so far as 
Fitzroy Square, which, though close to Tottenham Court 
Road, is somewhat difficult to find. There is an attraction 
in its stately facades, one side of which is the work of 
the Brothers Adam, and has quite the flavour of Bath. 
Another side was designed by an inferior artist ; while the 
remaining ones are in the ordinary style. Anyone who 
would wish to feel thoroughly ^^old-fashioned'' should 
come and live here. Not many years ago, before the era 
of studio building set in, it was much affected as a haunt of 
artists ; but now it offers a curious ^^ running to seed air.'' 
It is, however, well worth a visit, and a person of taste, by 
contrasting the two sides, will see how skilfully a true 
architect can lay out a pile of buildings. 



THE Court of St. James is a phrase that has been 
heard far and wide, and has carried fear into stout 
hearts. In Mexico and Peru, in Hindustan, and 
possibly by this time even at Pekin, and in every capital of 
Europe, it has been known as the designation of a power 
not to be trifled with. A foreigner who had formed his 
notions of the local habitation of this talismanic word from 
its universal prevalence and might, must at all times have 
been struck with astonishment on seeing it. The dingy 
plainness of the structure itself — the suttling-shop bulging 
from its front — the utter absence of architectural preten- 
sions in the surrounding houses, and the familiar manner in 
which they squeezed in upon it, were anjrthing but calcu- 
lated to harmonize with the high idea of the residence of 
the Kings of the *^ Kings of Inde," who occupied a house 
of much greater pretensions — in the east, in Leadenhall 
Street. If not exactly such a shock as might be supposed 
to be received upon finding a monkey-god enshrined in a 
sanctuary rich with gold and jewels, the effect on the im- 
agination was at least that produced by finding some very 
plain and homely person the central object of attention to a 
gorgeous train of richly-apparelled attendants. 

The phrase "Court of St. James's," if not, strictly 
speaking, one of the things we owe to our ^^ glorious Revo- 
lution," may at least be said to have come in with it. The 

ground on which the palace stands was acquired by Henry 


THE NEV>/ Ynnjf f 

; . • 

*>TOH, L.r.^ X AND 


VIII., who erected thereon a ''goodly palace;" "St. 
James's Manor House," as it was long called, has ever 
since been part and parcel of the palatial establishment of 
the Kings of England. But it was not until the burning 
of Whitehall in the reign of William III., that it became 
the royal residence — ^the scene of levees and drawing-rooms 
— ^the recognized seat of royalty. William resided mostly 
at Hampton Court, though he occasionally held councils at 
St. James's, and it was regarded as his town house. But 
Anne constantly resided there when in town; Caroline, 
Queen of George II., died there ; George IV. was bom 
there. " The Court," technically speaking, was held at St. 
James's during the whole reign of George III. (it still con- 
tinues to be held there), but the domestic town residence of 
that monarch was Buckingham House. St. James's is now 
merely the pavilion containing the apartments used on oc- 
casions of state solemnity. The period during which it 
was a palace of Kings — a palace to live in as well as to 
see company in — ^includes only the reigns of William, 
Anne, and the two first Georges. The Palace of St. 
James's — the Court of St. James's — ^are phrases which be- 
long to the Revolution era — to the time when, with the ex- 
ception of one female, our sovereigns were foreigners. It 
is an age not to be despised, for it is the age of Swift, 
Steele, Arbuthnot, and Addison— of Hogarth and Fielding — 
of old Colley Cibber and of young Horace Walpole — and 
of the ^ charming Lady Mary Montague." And though 
the nation could not well understand its sovereigns — either 
their language or their habits — and the sovereigns were but 
partially acclimatized, as gardeners or introducers of a new 
kind of farm-stock would phrase it — they had excellent 
sturdy qualities of their own^-grotesque enough to move 
our laughter, and with enough of moral power and good* 


ness to command our respect. But we must first trace tbe 
history of the palace previous to the days of its greatest 

The Hospital of St. James, founded for the reception of 
^ fourteen sisters, maidens, that were leprous^ living chastely 
and honestly in divine service," although a religious founda- 
tion, seems to have been honestly acquired by Henry VUI. 
In the year 1532 he gave Chattisham and other lands in 
Suffolk in exchange for the site of the Hospital ; and when, 
having thus become master of the house, he turned the sis- 
terhood out of doors, he had the grace to settle pensions 
upon them. The architect of St. James's Manor House is 
unknown, but it is understood to have been erected under 
the direction of CromweU, Earl of Essex, and Holbein is 
said to have furnished the plan, though this has been 
doubted. ^^ Only a part," says Brayley in his Londiniana 
(1829), ^^of Henry's building now remains, and that is in 
a poorer style of architecture than any of the other designs 
of Holbein. In the filling in of the spandrils of some of 
the arches the Florentine (or rather the Flemish) manner is 
conspicuous, particularly in the chimney-piece of the 
Presence Chamber, the ornamented compartments over the 
arch of which contain Tudor badges and the initials H. A. 
united by a knot : from this latter circumstance we may in- 
fer that the palace was originally built for the reception of 
the unfortunate Anne Boleyn." 

This association links the palace of St. James's with the 
culminating period of Henry's reputation. There was an 
ambition after good, or the appearance of it, that lent a 
certain degree of eclat to the first twenty years of his reign. 
His entering the lists of controversial theology with Luther 
bespoke intellectual taste, if not talent. His love of stately 
and gorgeous pageants, like the field of the cloth of gold. 


stimulated men's imaginations. His bluff, bold, somewhat 
homely deportment, so long as his self-will had not ripened 
into the terrible, won the hearts of the commonality. 

The stream of events ran away from St. James's during 
the years of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth, but with the 
prolific race of Stuarts it came to be used as a royal nurs- 
ery. The Manor House, with all its appurtenances, except 
the Park and the Stables at the Mews, were granted in 
1610, to Prince Henry, who occupied them till his prema- 
ture death in 16 12. He was succeeded by his brother, 
afterwards Charles I., who retained through life a partiality 
for the mansion. In it was deposited the collection of 
statues which, with the assistance of Sir Kenelm Digby, he 
began to form. Here most of his children were bom. 
And in the Chapel Royal, which he had fitted up in it, he 
attended divine service before he ^^ walked through the 
Park, guarded with a regiment of foot, to Whitehall," on 
the morning of the execution. This theme has been often 
enough harped on. Its interest is undeniable ; — it is we 
confess a sad sign of human inconstancy — ^but there has 
been so much emphatic moralizing and sentimentalizing, 
that we turn from the story of the father to welcome, as a 
change, the less hackneyed story of one of his son's ad- 

The Duke of York was taken prisoner when Fairfax 
entered Oxford in 1646. On the 20th of April, 1648, 
being then in his fifteenth year, he eflected his escape from 
St. James's, as is narrated in the Stuart Papers : 

All things being in readiness on the night of the fore- 
mentioned day, the Duke went to supper at his usual hour, 
which was about seven, in the company of his brother and 
sister, and when supper was ended they went to play at 
hide-and-seek with the rest of the young people in the 


house. At this childish sport the Duke had accustomed 
himself to play for a fortnight together every night, and 
had used to hide himself in places so difficult to find, that 
most commonly they were half an hour in searching for 
him, at the end of which time he came out of his own ac- 
cord. This blind he laid for his design, that they might be 
accustomed to miss him before he really intended his es- 
cape, ^^ by which means, when he came to practice it in 
earnest, he was secure of gaining that half-hour before 
they could reasonably suspect he was gone. His intention 
had all the effect he could desire ; for that night, so soon as 
they began their play, he pretended according to his custom, 
to hide himself; but instead of so doing, he went first into 
his sister's chamber, and there locked up a little dog that 
used to follow him, that he might not be discovered by 
him ; then slipping down by a pair of back stairs which 
led into the inmost garden, having found means beforehand 
to furnish himself with a key of a back-door from the said 
garden into the Park, he there found Bamfield, who was 
ready to receive him, and waited there with a footman who 
brought a cloak, which he threw over him, and put on a 
periwig. From thence they went through the Spring 
Garden, where one Mr. Tripp was ready with a hackney- 
coach." It is needless to pursue the adventure further in 
detail : suffice it to say that the Duke in female attire, suc- 
ceeded in reaching a Dutch vessel which was waiting, for 
him below Gravesend. 

After the Restoration James occupied this building, 
which must have continually recalled the gratifying recol- 
lection of his first successful exercise of that reserve which 
he afterwards indulged in to such an extent. It is spoken 
of by his contemporaries as splendidly furnished. One 
room was embellished with pictures of court beauties by 


Sir Peter Leiy. . . . We have now arrived at the 
period when the Palace of St. James's became the principal 
residence of the English sovereigns : not because the Revo- 
lution dynasty thought it necessary to have a new abode of 
their own, in which the memory of the old should not 
haunt them at every turning; but because, Whitehall 
having been accidentally burned soon after the acces- 
sion of William, St. James's was at first occupied as 
a temporary arrangement, protracted it may have been 
at first from some doubts as to the permanence of the 
new order of things, and afterwards from the hurry of im- 
portant business, which kept men from thinking of such a 
subordinate matter as the proper lodging of the sovereign. 
Until George III. the Revolution sovereigns (with the ex- 
ception of Anne) never seem to have felt quite at home in 
England ; and his reign was too busy a one to leave much 
leisure for palace building. 

We have already observed that the presence chamber is 
understood to be part of the ^^ Manor House " erected by 
Henry VIII. The north gateway also formed a part of ^ 
that building. For many years after its erection it stood 
quite in the country. 

By degrees, however, houses sprung up along the north 
side of Pall Mall, and on both sides of St. James's Street. 
After the Restoration, Jermyn, afterwards Earl of St. 
Alban's, contrived to obtain a grant of a large piece of 
ground, between Pall Mall and Piccadilly, on which he be- 
gan to build St. James's Square and several streets. King 
Charles's grant of the site of a house on the south of Pall 
Mall to Nell Gwynn seems to have been the beginning of 
the row of houses on that side of the street. 



REATHES there a man" who never heard of 
Piccadilly? Probably there breathe a good 
many, even in London, for the abyss of human 
ignorance — spite of the Board School — is wondrous deep. 
Yet everybody who counts knows his Piccadilly for better 
or worse, and only a desire for symmetry of treatment 
makes me begin at the beginning with a word of bald geo- 
graphical* description. Piccadilly is a street in the West 
End of London, running east and west with a considerable 
dip in the middle. In pre-historic times 'twas (one fancies) 
a pleasant green hill footed by a small lake succeeded by a 
stretch of meadow. It is ^^ bounded," as school books say, 
on the north by Mayfair, on the south by St. James's and 
the Green Park, on the east by Piccadilly Circus, and on 
the west by Hyde Park Corner. It is a typical London 
street of the better class and yet of the older type. In place 
of such regularity as dominates the Paris boulevard, you 
have admired confusion, picturesque disarray. [The houses 
V ( V are of every size, every style of architectu rg/V Burlington 
House might serve for palace ; Apsley House, the Roths- 
child mansion, and the like are fit abodes for great nobles. 
There are luxuriously fitted club-houses whereof the Junior 
Athenaeum may serve as sample. And the other extreme ? 
You have models (174 and 175, for instance), of those 
queer, narrow two-story houses of which our country towns 

are full. ^^ An Englishman's house is his castle." What 



Strange influence that quasi-legal maxim has had on Eng- 
lish building ! 

A castle must be self-contained, and so our poor pre- 
fers to live in a house as small as may be, but altogether 
his own, to occupying a nook in some spacious mansion, as 
his like does in France, nay, even in Scotland. In modern 
London that sentiment is fading away, in witness whereof 
you shall presently discover next door to the quaint brick 
building some century or two old, a new structure that 
seeks the skies with a boldness which the loftiest ^^ land " 
in the old town of Edinburgh could scarce emulate, rival- 
ling that also in the number and variety of its tenants. 
Of the shops a word will be said presently. There is a 
church— St. James's to wit — of a very odd exterior. It 
is one of Wren's, and better visaed inside than out. 
Houses of entertainment — from gorgeous hotels to plebeian 
but not less gorgeous ^^ pubs " — are only mentioned to be 
passed over. 

And the architecture ? Every style has been laid under 
contribution. Thebes and Athens are alike represented. 
The architects are debtors to the Goth and to the Greek. 
They have disdained neither Renaissance nor Queen Anne 
models, but the tendency is always towards greater size 
and magnificence. If the century found Piccadilly brick, 
it is leaving it marble. The diversity comes out in another 
way, the buildings have a fine English individuality about 
them. They strike the street at any angle, they refuse to 
toe the building line, as it were. Some, as Devonshire 
House, present to you (or did so the other day) but the 
blank wall of their court-yard. Others protect themselves 
by iron railings. Others are right on the pavement, and 
the sitter in some of their windows might, if he were so 
minded, pat the heads of the passers-by. I think all this 


positively delightful. The architects of the great avenues 
of other capitals, were sadly lacking in invention, or they 
forgot the deadly, the appalling effect of monotony. The 
first impression is brilliant, but it speedily passes away, and 
there if nothing to vary or renew the charm. Yet one 
must n(}t rate the pleasure of diversity too high. Piccadilly 
Circus, for instance, spite its recent doing up, the poor 
Gilbert sutue in the midst, and so forth, is but an incon- 
gruous jumble of buildings, and Hyde Park Comer is 
marred by the like muddle. Tlie reason is plain — ^regularity 
and symmetry show better in a place or a square than in a 

Each prominent London street has its own characteristics. 
The commercial air of Cheapside impresses the wayfaring 
man, though a fool. The least intelligent foreigner would 
spell out a connection between Fleet Street and journalism ; 
Oxford Street breathes prosperous middle-class affluence, 
and Piccadilly in many a material sign, in the aspect of 
those who tread its footpaths day after day, or roll pros- 
perously along its carriage ways, signifies at every turn 
wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, birth, distinction, and 
high breeding. How plainly the gigantic private resi- 
dences, gigantic although the ground on which they stand 
is so precious that it might well seem paved with gold, show 
forth these things ! You need scarce cross their thresh- 
olds to discover that each house is a museum of beautiful 
and costly things, furniture, plate, pictures, all that the 
highest civilization can contribute to gratify every material, 
nearly every spiritual, desire. The shops, too, plainly cater 
for a luxurious class of customers. They exist to satisfy 
not the grosser needs, but the finer tastes. Exotic fruits, 
prints and pictures, jewels, scents and such like are the 
staple commodities. The butcher and baker, you fancy, 


modestly seclude themselves in the side alleys. But in the 
street itself, you note a distinction or division. Taking St. 
James's Street as the boundary line, you discover that the 
part to the east is much more crowded and bustling, also it 
is more populous than the Western portion. In the evening 
the former is crowded by a gay cosmopolitan assemblage. 
You hear more languages than Babel's Tower could furnish, 
all sorts and conditions of men, on pleasure rather than 
business bent, jostle one another on the pavement. As to 
the western segment, one notes that the very best (socially 
speaking) folk in London inhabit the adjacent ways. You 
understand that the local man on the street is as like as not 
a noble, or baronet, or millionaire. Button-hole the chance 
passer-by, pluck your momentary vis-i-vis by the sleeve, 
and as like as not you have caught a celebrity. He may 
turn out a Tartar, and the experiment, though not devoid 
of fascination, cannot be recommended. But general 
rather than individual experience will best serve your turn. 
Take then your Piccadilly. 

To see ^^this radiant and immortal street,'' as Mr. 
W. £. Henley hath it, at its best, choose some afternoon 
in May, when the sun is shining on the long, burnished, 
sumptuous array of carriages, the ever-moving throng 
of well-dressed men and gorgeously apparelled women on 
the pavement, glittering on the tall line of houses on the 
one side, and the trees and fresh verdure of the Park which 
through half its length lines the other, and you have a 
picture of England's wealth, strength, and beauty, such as 
ought to make any Englishman proud. Darker sides the 
picture may have, insolent parade, cruel scorn of poverty, 
selfish and foolish luxury, but the brighter is at least as 
true, and all in all you may fully accept the merry 
spectacle as good. But England is an historic country. 


Piccadilly is before all else an historic street. Great and 
distinguished as is the crowd that to-day treads its pave- 
ment, there is a company of shadows still greater and still 
more distinguished, for it includes all who have dwelt 
around this spot or moved over these stones. Let us look 
for a little into its past records, to see what amusement 
and instruction they can furnish for us to-day. 

The learned are not at one with the origin of the name. 
A map, tfmp.y early Elizabethan, marks the place as the 
way to Reading. A century afterwards the district had its 
now well-known name, whereof several explanations were 
current. Pickadil was the skirt of a garment — ^the houses 
then rising in this part were the utmost veige of London ; 
but the same word denoted, a stiff collar worn by the bucks 
of the period. One Higgins, a tailor was lord of much 
land hereabout ; he had made a fortune by a supply of this 
foppery, and his own fancy or popular wit so dubbed the 
district. Again in good King Charles's golden days a 
gaming house was opened there in 1634, and this was prob- 
ably the place commemorated by Clarendon in 1641, ^^as 
a fair house for entertainment and gaming, with handsome 
gravel walk with shade, and where were an upper and lower 
bowling green, whither very many nobility and gentry of 
the best quality resorted, both for exercise and conversa- 
tion.*' This was Piccadilly Hall, and some said the district 
was called after it, though that etymology like enough put 
the cart before the horse. Of the wits of the time who 
frequented the place. Sir John Suckling is far the most in- 
teresting. ^^ He played at cards rarely well, and did use 
to practice by himselfe a-bed, and there studyed the best way 
of manning the cards. His sisters coming to the Pecca- 
dillo bowling green crying for fear he should lose all their 
portions.'' He himself had a curious contempt for those 


lively verses which raise him out of the ^ mob of gentle- 
men who wrote with ease/' and thus in artful words did he 
condemn his own art — 

'' Who priz'd black eyes or a lofty hit 
A» Bowls above all the triumphs of wit.'* 

The district grew apace, but it was well into the last 
century before any house fronted the Green Park. Up till 
1 721 a sort of official stop was put on its growth by a 
turnpike which stood where Berkeley Street now runs into 
the main thoroughfare. Beyond that was the Great Western 
Road, unpavemented, haunted by the highwayman, as many 
an honest citizen venturing on the dark nights found to his 
cost. In that year the said turnpike was removed to Hyde 
Park Corner, and the intervening space soon filled in. 
Statuary shops then abounded, so that it was like the Euston 
Road, a sort of vulgar Athens, yet had it sufficient rusticity 
to attract citizens o' Sundays. A number of houses of en- 
tertainment were cause or effect of the weekly outings. 
One famous hostelry was the ^^ Pillars of Hercules," which 
has a nook in our literature since Fielding makes his Squire 
Weston put up thereat. And now Piccadilly in outline at 
least stands complete. But one must remember that it had 
been for long previous a main thoroughfare. 



*' Though I be Mt u a powdered peruke. 

And once was a gaping tally. 
Your Whitechapel Countess will prove. Lord Duke, 

She's a regular tiger lily : 
Shell fight you with cold steel and she'll run you off your legs 

Down the length of Hccadilly." 

YES, there was a time when exciting things hj^>- 
pened in Piccadilly, but one has to go for them, 
as Mr. Meredith has gone, at least to the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century. Nowadays the eyes of 
the nation are not fixed on a handful of social heroes and 
heroines, so that even were a discarded wife to chase her 
false fleeting lord along the edge of the Green Park few 
people would hear of the event, in spite of our wonderful 
Press. But I doubt if anything of interest, reported or not, 
ever happens now in Piccadilly. If our manners are less 
elaborate than our ancestors' were, we are certainly more 
self-contained. Few people ^^let themselves go" any- 
where, least of all in a public thoroughfare : the exceptions 
are controlled by the police. And I fancy the habit of in- 
terested sauntering has declined : we hurry from one stupid 
occasion to another in cabs and omnibuses, and we lose our 
acquaintances in the crowd. Our reminiscences will con- 
tain few remarkable encounters in the street. 

All the same, there is still a significance in Piccadilly. 
That is to say, from Bond Street to Hyde Park Corner : 


--■ . .r v.->T ^ 


S. ' 


from Bond Street eastwards to the Circus there is no signif- 
icance at all, merely shops and an obstructive flow of 
vacuous humanity. But walk from Bond Street westwards 
on a fine day about half-past twelve in the morning, and as 
you go down the slope you feel that you are in the spacious 
middle of social London, in the part of it that means 
Town — as Mr. Kipling sings to his banjo— to men who 
have known Town, when they hear the word in Australia 
or on the Niger. And that is the part that attracts them 
when they return. Some house in the country is dearer, 
perhaps, but they feel that they are back in Town when 
they walk down the slope of Piccadilly. Their minds may 
contain little of the social memories of the place : they 
may not think of the Duke in his duck trousers or of ^' old 
Q " in his unrepentant age, but there, if anywhere, Tbwn 
sdrs in their blood. 

I do not think it can be a merely personal and individual 
pleasure that comes to me when on a fine morning I look 
down Piccadilly from the top of the slope. I have observed 
it often in others, and I always fancy that people look 
brighter, with a blander eye on the world, here than else- 
where in London. For myself, I am conscious of a sort 
of ludicrous increase of importance, as though here one 
were less of an ant on an ant-hill and more of a necessary 
screw in the machine. I feel almost as one having a defi- 
nite and not despicable place in the community, who can 
hold up his head and meet the world with a smile, not 
dodge it round a corner. Perhaps it is that one's mind un- 
consciously surveys its memories of those who have strolled 
down Piccadilly, — not only those whose achievements or 
fortune have been infinitely greater, but those who have 
come to infinitely worse grief; and it unconsciously re- 
minds itself that the descent is not altogether completed. 


Some have so walked down Piccadilly and continued their 
walking till they did it on tottering, but honoured feet ; 
others have walked down Piccadilly and walked away into 
some unknown Inferno. I will not trouble you with the 
associations of this or that house : perhaps they too add to 
one's importance, as one feels solemn in a graveyard. 

There are folks who have no right in Piccadilly of a 
morning. Those whose interests are comprised in their 
money gains and losses ; those whose clothes, whether old 
or new, are worn uneasily ; those who stare and scowl at 
their neighbours, and those who cannot dissimulate their 
success in life, — ^all these profane ones are requested to 
absent themselves. In the afternoon let them return : re- 
gretfully then I abandon Piccadilly to the plutocrat ; by all 
means let him arrive there from the city and stare at hb 
kith and kin in the crawling carriages. In the morning it 
is for amiable people, who saunter idly or march with a 
brisk swing, people aiFable with their eyes, who assume that 
those they meet are their brothers and enjoy, they also, a 
pleasant outlook on life, free from fret and snobbery and 
every baseness. Let them sniff the morning air and take 
the town as a natural place, and forget its gorging gold and 
suffocated millions. 

All this of fine mornings in general, and especially of the 
early spring, before London is used up and all men's faces 
are grown pale with too effectual pleasures. In the after- 
noon, as I said, the place is different. Something foetid has 
descended in the air, the red sheen is gone from the omni- 
buses, the idle saunter is exchanged for the painful crawl, 
and the brisk swing for the blatant swagger; the baser 
racial instincts have come atop. 

In the evenings there is a new enchantment. But unless 
you be a triple-brass philosopher, to enjoy it you must 


drive; walking you find the national superiority in morals 
a little too insistent. But drive, drive up Piccadilly this 
time, not down, and observe the lines of lamps in the dark- 
ness, the one line by the seemly houses, the other by the 
black trees. Do they not suggest to you something vaguely 
but pervadingly romantic ? 

In the morning there was the feeling of what social 
charm and interest there may be in a town; at night 
there is the feeling of its possibilities of adventure. 
It is, of course, quite a different romance from that 
of grey moors and distant lights in old windows: this 
romance is gay in its quality, even feverish. You may be 
driving home from a quiet dinner-party, to go quietly to 
bed ; but do you not find a romance in this line of lamps 
leading into the heart of the town, where life, you imagine 
for a moment, is at some heat of interest ? There it lies 
before you, multitudes of human things with hearts and 
fancies, countless abodes of mystery. You lean back and 
continue your course, without a regret, to your peaceful 
and respectable dwelling-place, but for a moment there was 
the sense of romance, a faint wave against your brain of 
the blood that craves adventure. A fleeting fancy : as I 
write it is gone ! words do but riddle it. As you draw into 
the closer traffic, romance has flown, the closer sight of 
your fellow-creatures, unless you be very young, has killed 
it. Perhaps it was not a very edifying thing while it was 
with you. But nowhere else in London, as in Piccadilly 
by night, shall you feel it. And for it, as for my morning's 
stroll down the slope, do I count Piccadilly precious beyond 



FROM Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, the handsomest 
street in London, leads to the west. Its name is 
a record of its having been the place where the 
game of Palle-malle was played — a game still popular in the 
deserted streets of old sleepy Italian cities, and deriving its 
name from PaUa^ a ball, and MagUa a mallet. It was al- 
ready introduced into England in the reign of James L, who 
(in his Basilicon Doron) recommended his son Prince Henry 
to play at it. Charles II., who was passionately fond of the 
game, removed the site for it to St. James's Park. 

It was across the ground afterwards set apart for Palle- 
malle, described by Le Serre as ^^ near the avenues of the 
(St. James's) palace — a laige meadow, always green, in 
which ladies walk in summer," that Sir Thomas Wyatt led 
his rebel troops into London in 1554, passing with little 
loss under the fire of the artillery planted on Hay Hill by 
the Earl of Pembroke, and forcing his way successfully 
through the guard drawn out to defend Charing Cross, but 
only to be deserted by his men and taken prisoner as he 
entered the City. 

The street was not enclosed till about 1690, when it was 
at first called Catherine Street, in honour of Catherine of 
Braganza, and it still continued to be a fashionable prome- 
nade rather than a highway for carriage traffic. Thus Gay 
alludes to it : — 


•• O bear me to the paths of fidr Pall Mall ! 
Safe are thy pavements, grateful is thy smell ! 
At distance rolls along the gilded coach. 
Nor sturdy carmen on thy walks encroach ; 
No lets would bar thy ways were chairs deny'd. 
The soft supports of laziness and pride ; 
Shops breathe perfumes, through sashes ribbons glow. 
The mutual arms of ladies and the beau/' 

TrivU, bk. II. 

Club-houses are the characteristic of the street, though 
none of the existing buildings date beyond the present cen- 
tury. In the last century their place was filled by taverns 
where various literary and convivial societies had their 
meetings : Pepys in 1660 was frequently at one of these, 
^ Wood's at the Pell-Mell." The first trial of street gas 
in London was made here in 1807, in a row of lamps, on 
the King's birthday, before the colonnade of Carlton House. 
Amid all the changes of the town, London-lovei^ have 
continued to give their best affections to Pall Mall* and 
how many there are who agree with the lines of Charles 
Morris * — 

'* In town let me live, then, in town let me die ; 
For in truth I can't relish the country, not I. 
If one must have a villa in summer to dwell. 
Oh ! give me the sweet shady side of Pall Mall." 

Entering the street by Pall Mall East, we pass, just be- 
yond the rooms of the Old Water Colour Society, the 
entrance to Suffolk Straty where Charles II. ^^ furnished a 
house most richly " ' for his beloved Moll Davis, and where 

1 The genial wit, of whom Curran said, ** Die when yon will, Charles, 
you will die in your youth." 
•Pepys, Jan. 14,1667-8. 


Pepys ^^ did see her coach come for her to her door, a 
mighty pretty fine coach.*' ^ Here also lived Miss Esther 
Vanhomrigh, who has become, under the name of Vanessa, 
celebrated for her unhappy and ill-requited devotion to Dean 
Swift* On the right is the GalUry of British Artists. Suf- 
folk Street existed as early as 1664, marking the site of a 
house of the Earls of SuiFolk, but did not become impor- 
tant till the Restoration, when the residence of Secretary 
Coventry gave a name to the neighbouring Coventry Street. 

On the left Cockspur Street falls into Pall Mall. At the 
end of Warwick Streit^ which opens into it, stood War- 
wick House, where Princess Charlotte was compelled by 
her father to reside, and where ^ wearied out by a series of 
acts all proceeding from the spirit of petty tyranny, and 
each .more vexatious than another, though none of them 
very important in itself," she determined to escape. She 
(July 16, 18 14) ^^ rushed out of her residence in Warwick 
House, unattended ; hastily crossed Cockspur Street ; flung 
herself into the first hackney-coach she could find ; and 
drove to her mother's house in Connaught Place." ' 

A public-house at the entrance of Warwick Street still 
bears the sign of ^^ The Two Chairmen," which recalls the 
habits of locomotion in the last century, when Defoe wrote 
— ^^ I am lodged in the street called Pall Mall, the ordinary 
residence of all strangers, because of its vicinity to the 
Queen's Palace, the Park, the Parliament House, the 
theatres, and the chocolate and coffee-houses, where the 
best company frequent. If you would know our manner 
of living, 'tis thus : — we rise by nine, and those that fre- 
quent great men's levees find entertainment at them till 
eleven, or, as at Holland, go to tea-tables. About twelve, 

1 Built 1681. Called after Sir FhUip Warwick. 

'Feb. I5t 166S-9. sLord Bioagham. 


the biaU'-moruU assembles in several coiFee or cbocolate- 
houses ; the best of which are the Cocoa-tree, and White's 
chocolate-houses ; St. James's, the Smyrna, Mr. Rochford's, 
and the British coiFee-houses ; and all these so near one 
another, that in less than one hour you see the company of 
them all. We are carried to these places in Sedan chairs, 
which are here very cheap, a guinea a week, or a shilling 
per hour ; and your chairmen serve you for porters to run 
on errands, as your gondoliers do at Venice." 

Passing the equestrian statue of Geoige III., by Matthew 
Cotes, 1837, we now reach the foot of the Haymarket^ so 
called from the market for hay and straw which was held 
here in the reign of Elizabeth, and was not finally abol- 
ished till 1830. On the right is the Hay market Theatre 
(opened Dec. 1720), on the left the Italian Opera House 
(built in 1790). It was between these, at the foot of the 
Haymarket, that Thomas Thynne of Longleat was mur- 
dered on Sunday, Feb. 12, 168 1, by ruffians hired by Count 
Konigsmarck, who hoped, when Thynne was out of the 
way, to ingratiate himself with his affianced bride, the 
rich young Lady Elizabeth Percy, already, in her sixteenth 
year, the widow of Lord Ogle. The assassins employed 
were Vratz, a German ; Stern, a Swede ; and Borotski, a 
Pole ; but only the last of these fired, though no less than 
five of his bullets pierced his victim. The scene is repre- 
sented on Thynne's monument in Westminster Abbey. 
The conspirators were taken, and tried at Hicks's Hall in 
Clerkenwell, where Konigsmarck was acquitted, but the 
others sentenced to death, and hanged in the street which 
was the scene of their crime. They were attended by 
Bishop Burnet, who narrates that, in return for his religious 
admonitions, Vratz expressed his conviction that ^^God 
would consider a gentleman, and deal with him suitably to 


the condition and profession he had placed him in ; and 
that he would not take it ill if a soldier who lived by his 
sword avenged an affront offered him hy another." Stem, 
on the scaffold, complained that ^ he died for a man's fortune 
whom he never spoke to, for a woman whom he never 
saw, and for a dead man whom he never had a sight of." 

(Addison lived in the Haymarket, and wrote his Campaign 
there. On the right are yames Straty where James II. 
used to play in the tennis court, and Panton Street^ so called 
from Colonel Panton, the successful gamester, who died in 
1681. At the corner of Market Street^ (left) lived Hannah 
Lightfoot, the fair Quakeress, beloved by Geoige III. 
Farther on the left is the entry of the little court called 
James's Market, where Richard Baxter preached.) 

Proceeding down Pall MaU, and passing the United Senn 
ice Cluby by Nashy 1826, we reach the opening of Waterloo 
Place, which occupies the site of Carlton House, built for 
Henry Boyle, Lord Carlton, in 1709, and purchased by 
Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1732. His widow, Augusta 
of Saxe-Cobourg, lived here for many years, and died in 
1772. The house was redecorated for the marriage of the 
Prince of Wales, afterwards Geoige IV. Here his 
daughter Charlotte was born (January 7, 1796), and married 
to Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg (May 2, 18 16). Here also, in 
181 1, George IV. gave his famous banquet as Prince Regent. 

Horace Walpole was beyond measure ecstatic in his ad- 
miration of Carlton House, though where the money to 
pay for it was to come from he could not conceive ; *^ all 
the mines in Cornwall could not pay a. quarter." The 
redundancy of ornament induced Bonomi to write on the 
Ionic screen facing Pall Mall the epigram — 

** * Care colonne^ che fate quii ? * 
* Non Mppiamo, in veriti ! ' " 


But all its magnificence came to an end in 1827, when the 
house was pulled down, its fittings taken to Buckingham 
Palace, and its columns used in building the portico of the 
National Gallery. Its site is marked by the Column (124 
feet high) surmounted by a Statui of Frederick^ Duke of 
Tbrkj second son of Geoige III., by fFestmacott^ which 
faces Regent Street. On the left is a Statue of Sir John 
Franklin by Noble. The relief on its pedestal represents 
the funeral of Franklin, with Captain Crozier reading the 
burial service : it wonderfully appeals to human sympathies, 
and there is scarcely a moment in the day when passers-by 
are not lingering to examine it. 

We now enter upon a perfect succession of the buildings 
erected for the clubs, originally defined by Dr. Johnson as 
'^assemblies of goodfellows, meeting under certain con- 




STARED to-day at Piccadilly like a country squire ; 
there are twenty new stone houses," wrote Horace 
Walpole, in 1759. What would be his sensations 
if, revisiting ^^ the glimpses of the moon" he could see the 
Piccadilly of to-day and the adjacent r^ions of club-land, 
St. James's Street and Pall Mall ? Of all the busy scenes 
at these head-quarters of the clubs, so full of historic asso- 
ciations with his name and his time, the one landmark that 
would catch his puzzled gaze would be St. James's Palace. 
It stands in the very heart of the club country, and its stoiy 
is the history of England. 

Since the roystering days of club life in London, 
Pall Mall, Piccadilly, and St. James's Street have been 
rebuilt. St. James's street is redeemed, from an anti- 
quarian point of view, by the dingy ' towers of the 
Palace, and the quaint suggestions of age in the Queen 
Anne facade of the Cocoa-tree Club. Otherwise the 
architectural picturesqueness of the days of Anne and of 
Walpole have disappeared. You can only find it in the 
prints that hang in the local shop-windows, or, to go farther 
afield in modern revivals of old brick houses that nowadays 
one comes upon everywhere. 

There is a singular fascination about these print-shops. 

As you walk down St. James's Street, and turn round into 

Pall Mall, note how the pictorial reminiscences of old 

London attract people. It is not only the collector, the 


'i ' 

CLUBS 329 

man of taste, whom you will find gazing at engravings of 
streets with sedan chairs in them. Birdcage Walk in the 
days of Charles, scenes at Vauxhall assembly and gardens, 
cock-pit encounters, portraits of racing squires, and illus- 
trations of ancient sports 1 but the commoner folk contem- 
plate these things with an effort, in their dull way, to rea- 
lize the changes that have come over this world of London. 
A reformer who has worked all his life in extending the 
franchise, because he believes the working-classes are to a 
man against wars, should note the kind of persons who 
block the pavements where the shop windows contain 
military pictures. The bright uniforms of the household 
troops, the gallant chaiges in the battle tableaux, these 
collect audiences of working-men. So long as writers, 
poets, and women make a. hero of the warrior, so long will 
there be wars ; and so long as gold is the key to all doors, 
so long will men gamble for it. 

The famous old clubs of this famous region of club-land 
were originally taverns and gaming-houses. To-day St. 
James's Street looks so snug and respectable. Pall Mall so 
like a r^ion of palaces, that you might fairly think we had 
indeed got far beyond those wild days of gaming when 
whist and piquet, hazard and faro, were the chief amuse- 
ments of the time ; when the palate of a gentleman re- 
quired the constant titillation of strong wines, and the rattle 
of the dice-box was music to his soul. These days are 
past, it is true, but the spirit of gambling is with us still 
busy as ever, inspiring its votaries with as keen a relish for 
speculation as that which ruled in 1770, when Walpole 
wrote ^ The gaming at Almack's, which has taken the pas 
of White's, is worthy the decline of our empire, or com- 
monwealth, which you please. The young men of the age 
lose ten, fifteen, twenty thousand pounds in an evening 


there. Lord Staverdale, not one-and-twenty lost ;^ii,ooo 
there last Tuesday, but recovered it by one great hand at 
hazard/* We gamble in a more general and scientific way 
in these days, and every class engages in the excitement all 
over the country. The modem phase of gambling is well 
represented in the old street where Sheridan and Fox, and 
the Prince of Wales and Brummell, and the rest, drank and 
gamed and fought, and, according to the tenets of the day, 
proved themselves gentlemen. At the top of the street, on 
the west corner, with an entrance to Piccadilly, there is a 
West-End Stock Exchange, Limited ; and another kindred 
institution on the east side, near the bottom. You will find 
in the windows the opening prices of consols, rentes, Eries, 
Midlands, Egyptians, etc., with their varying quotations 
during the day and their closing prices at night. You can 
go in and speculate and gamble, at a rate never dreamt of 
by those wild, tearing, duelling gamesters of Walpole's time : 
you can do it in cold blood in your morning coat, then take 
a ride in the park, lunch calmly at your club, go home un- 
ruffled to dinnet, and escort your wife to the Opera in the 
evening, or to a meeting at Exeter Hall with the mild air 
of a bishop. These topers and gamblers of old, they had 
sport in company over their speculations; they dined and 
wined, and fired off ribald jests ; they made the welkin 
ring ; they troubled the watch, sometimes shot each other 
and made a noise. I suppose our modem system is best. 

Do you think streets and houses have a physiognomy ? 
Then note the clean self-conscious air of respectability and 
wealth of St. James's Street. The houses have both a city 
and a country manner. Even the Stock Exchanges have a 
West-End expression in their windows, as much as to infer 
that they only deal or associate with county men, with 
officers and gentlemen. The one at the PiccadiUy end has 

CLUBS 331 

the air of a rich broker, well dressed with a rose in his but* 
ton-hole, a fifty guinea chronometer in his watch fob, and 
in his mind the consciousness of his little place at Rich- 
mond of Twickenham. Then there is White's, on the 
other side of the street, a solid stone building, with its thick 
iron railings and balcony, painted white, its two heavy 
lamps at the entrance, its mahogany swinging doors, and its 
aristocratic bow window. It looks its history : it is mod- 
ern, but with an expression of ^^ long descent," even in its 
blinds. Tory, it looks as if its foundations were deep in 
the soil, as if they were on the rock ; as if the cellarage was 
grouted with concrete ; as if, in its modern dress and man- 
ner (the present house was built by Wyatt in 185 1), it re- 
tained its old port wine constitution, and accepted the 
luxuries of the present only as supplementary to those of 
the past. Compared with the stock-broker at the corner, 
it is > lord-lieutenant of its county, chairman of quarter 
sessions, and has sat in Parliament all its life. Idealizing 
these inanimate things in a physiognomical spirit, such are 
the characteristics that strike one in a general way. I am 
not straining the idea either, nor is the thought original, 
since Theodore Hook likened a once well known bow 
window, at the other end of St. James's Street, to an obese 
old gentleman in a white waistcoat. 

It is an eminently aristocratic street, St. James's. Even 
the club waiters and the tradesmen feel it. They live up 
to this ideal. The tradesmen are of ^^a superior cut." 
Their manners are courtly compared, for example, with 
Strand manners, and they have cultivated, if not a higher 
order of intelligence, certainly a show of it. They charge 
for both in their bills, and rightly. The hall porters at the 
clubs have the hauteur of the most upper of upper servants. 
They have even some of the repose that belongs to their 


masters of the Vere de Veres. It would be an education 
in social tone for an ignorant person to live in St. James's 
Street. How much more so might this have been said 
when St. James's was in fact, as well as in name, the 
metropolis of the Court ! How well the Palace carries on 
its calm, time-worn features, the grand old story of its life \ 
It takes us back beyond the Norman conquest, for it occu- 
pies the site of a hospital founded before the Conqueror set 
his foot on these shores ; it has associations with Edward I. 
and with three Heniys, in whose reigns it was built and re- 
built ; and to-day it is still the palace that the eighth Henry 
built, that the first Charles enlarged, and in which most of 
the latter monarch's children were born — ^including his 
^^ merry " son, Charles II. Palace, prison, council house, 
it can bear witness to the greatness and the littleness of 
royal life, and it characteristically represents the idea that 
whether our forefathers were less moral in their habits and 
customs than we are to-day, at least their vices, like their 
dress, were more picturesque. 

The best known among the old existing clubs are in St. 
James's Street — Brooks's, White's, Boodle's, Arthur's, and 
the Cocoa-tree. There are other important, and even more 
palatial club-houses here than these, such as the New Uni- 
versity, the Conservative, and the Devonshire. The loftly 
front and fine semi-ecclesiastical portal of the New Uni- 
versity is in striking contrast with the old Cocoa-tree 
house, and the characteristic courtyard of the adjoining 
hotel; as is also the entrance-hall of the Junior Army and 
Navy, with the unpretentious portals of White's. From a 
modern point of view, the handsomest club-house in St. 
James's Street is the Conservative, which occupies the site 
of the old Thatched House Tavern. It was built in 1845, 
from designs by Sydney Smith and George Baseivi. 

CLUBS 333 

But touching Walpole's amazement at some changes in 
Piccadilly, it is worth while to dwell upon the pictures of 
the past and present of a street that is the home of the 
most ancient and aristocratic of the London clubs. Take 
White's of to-day, the original White's, and the house and 
its tenant preceding White's as it is. To-day you shall 
see the successors of the beaux of Walpole's day at their 
bow window. If the opportunity offers, as it sometimes 
does, of ogling a pretty woman as she passes it is quite 
possible these county gentlemen would be nothing loth. 
In the old days the members stood at the window to 
ogle, and the fine ladies went by on both sides of the street 
to be ogled. In the early days of Walpole and Addison, 
White's was close to St. James's Palace, and the life of the 
street is well shown in the pictures of the time. Con- 
trasted with the modern street the change is startling. 
There were notable clubs before Brooks's, Boodle's, 
White's, and Arthur's, and if one professing to write a his- 
tory of clubs they would have to be mentioned. White's 
has a curious history. It is the outcome of White's 
Chocolate House, 1698, which stood a few doors from the 
bottom of the west side of St. James's Street. There was 
a small garden attached to the house, Doran says ^^ that 
there more than one highwayman took his chocolate, or 
threw his main, before he quietly mounted his horse and 
rode down Piccadilly towards Bagshot." The house was 
burnt down in 1733. The King and Prince of Wales 
were present and encouraged the firemen by words and 
guineas in their efforts to subdue the flames. Cunningham 
says, ^^The incident of the fire was made use of by 
Hogarth in Plate VI. of the Rate's Progress^ representing 
a room at White's. The total abstraction of the gamblers 
is well expressed by their utter inattention to the alarm of the 


fire given by watchmen who are bursting open the doore/' 
In the first number of The Tatler it is promised that ^ all 
accounts of gallantly, pleasure and entertainment shall be 
under the article of White's Chocolate House." 

Originally the house was public. It became a private 
club in 1736. Among the members were the Earls of 
Cholmondeley, Chesterfield, and Rockingham; Sir John 
Cope, Major-General Churchill, Bubb Doddington, and 
CoUey Cibber. 

A gambling-house at first. White's for many years had a 
bad reputation. Pope in the Dunciad^ has a shot at it — 

" Or chaired at White's, amidst the doctors sit. 
Teach oaths to gamesters, and to nobles wit." 

If Brooks's is, as Mark Lemon, in his Up and Down the 
London Struts says, '^ probably the most aristocratic of 
London clubs," time was when White's was the fashion- 
able club of the town ; and it still holds a distinct and 
enviable position, though some of its members think the 
Turf and the Marlborough more amusing. '^ The men at 
White's," an old habitue tells me, ^ still belong to the 
higher ranks of club men, and it is a pleasant thing in the 
season, before dinner, to listen to the veterans who occupy 
the two arm-chairs in the window, talk sports and pastimes, 
wars and rumours of wars and discuss current gossip/' 
Dinner at White's is a ceremonial business, wax-candles, 
stately waiters, carefully decanted wine, courses that come 
on with procession-like solemnity, a long sitting over the 
wine, and with the older men a ^ white wash " of sherry 
before your coflFee and cigar. The old '^ bet-book" is still 
preserved and used. Walpole mentions it in a letter of 
1748, and in no very complimentaiy terms. ^ There is a 

CLUBS 335 

man about town. Sir William Burdett, a man of very good 
family, but most infamous character. In short, to give 
you his character at once, there is a wager entered in the 
bet-book at White's that the first baronet that will be hung 
is this Sir WUliam Burdett/' 

.t I 



THE early years of the Queen were marked by the 
gloom and incompetence in matters of art which 
characterized the Georgian period of history. 
There were the remains of the older buildings, but no new 
inspiration to add picturesque details to the bricks and 
mortar which took the place of green fields and trees. 

All round London were noble examples of interesting 
houses — Chouses standing within a laige area of garden and 
meadow space, generally possessing fine hammercd-iroa 
gateways, and frequently containing a picturesque cedar- 
tree or a mulberry-tree. North, east, south and west was 
this the case. In Fulham and Hammersmith there were 
many examples of Jacobean architecture; in Wands^ 
worth, and other places in the south, they are not all gone 
even now ; while in the east, in Bow, Poplar, and Bromley, 
there were quite a lai]ge number of the old dwellings of 
wealthy London citizens or Middlesex residents. Anyone 
caring for examples of such interesting work should visit 
the manor-house at Poplar,. Bromley Hall, or others of this 

In the centre of London there were also numerous 
buildings of interest. Northumberland House, the most 
westerly of the ancient Strand palaces, had not then 
been needlessly destroyed for the street improvement of 
Northumberland Avenue, the ancient inns of Southwark 



I s- 

T ( 


and of Holborn were still in their picturesque if somewhat 
battered condition; the White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly, 
from which the old coaches started at least as early as 
1750 ; Winchester House, Old Broad Street; Earl's Court 
House, the residence of Dr. John Hunter from 1764 to 
1795; bits of the ancient villages of London at Hamp- 
stead. Hackney, Bromley, and elsewhere ; squalid but pic- 
turesque remnants of old Westminster ; Fairfax House at 
Putney, and the so-called Cromwell's House at Shepherd's 
Bush, were all in existence, though, alas ! the drawings 
published by the London Topographical Society and the 
descriptive notes by the Society for the Preservation of 
Ancient Buildings are all that is left to remind the 
Londoner of these interesting relics of the past. 

Of spots sanctified by memories that belong to the 
Queen's London almost as much as to their antiquarian 
value is surely the Charterhouse. There is no talk yet of 
destroying this piece of ancient London and of Thack- 
eray's London. The great writer was, as is well known, 
educated there, and he has left us memoires of the place 
in the heroes of his stories, for they were all Charterhouse 
boys. Charterhouse School has now migrated to Godalm- 
ing, but the Merchant Taylor's School has taken its place, 
and it is to be hoped will help to keep intact the whole of 
this interesting site. 

The great squares of London remain much the same as 
when they were built, though some have been destroyed. 
Leicester Square, once the home of many famous men, has 
become the home of music-hall amusement, and Russell 
Square is doomed to destruction. But nearly all the others 
retain their sombreness and their charm, including here and 
there, perhaps most notably in St. James's Square and Port- 
man Square, the iron link-holders on the railing in front of 


the houses, which mark the time before gas was used for 
the lighting of the streets. 

One cannot help being struck by the beauty of street 
architecture where, as in our oldest cities, Chester, Salis* 
bury, Ipswich, and others, Elizabeth and Jacobean build* 
ings are still extant. The houses of Staple Inn facing 
Holbom, opposite Gray's Inn Lane, are of this character, 
and they have been preserved by the public spirit of their 
owners, the Prudential Fire Insurance Company. But why 
were houses of this description destroyed so largely, and 
why was their architecture not copied? They were, at 
all events, works of art, and helped to make pleasing the 
surroundings of dwellers in towns. They have been re- 
placed by the hideous monstrosities of Harley Street, 
Gower Stredt, and so on in the west of London, and by 
long rows of unshapen cottages or hovek in the poorer 
parts. The Georgian spirit of architecture was against 
art, and declared for so-called utilitarianism, as if utility 
could exist without the element of art. 

London in the eighteenth century contained many 
specimens of this picturesque architecture, but they rapidly 
disappeared, and in searching for the cause (for it has never 
been properly ascertained), I think the most likely is to be 
found in the preamble to many of the local acts of Parlia- 
ment. Examples occur in the acts of Clerkenwell and 
Aldgate, where the disadvantages of the gable houses are 
curiously set forth. 

The preamble to an act of ii Geoige III. cap. 23, 
1 77 1, recites that certain streets in the parish of Aldgate, 
in the county of Middlesex, ^' are very ill paved, and the 
passage through the same greatly obstructed by posts, 
projections, and other nuisances, and annoyed by spouts, 
signs, and gutters," and then proceeds to enact ^' that all 


houses and buildings hereafter to be built or new fronted 
shall, for the eflPectual and absolute prevention' of all nuuiner 
of projections, annoyances, and inconveniences thereby, 
rise perpendicularly from the foundation ; and if any per- 
son shall at any time hereafter presume to build or new 
front any house otherwise than perpendicularly " the com- 
missioners shall cause the same to be pulled down and re- 
moved. In this way were the projecting house fronts of 
picturesque London destroyed ; they did not suit the new 
requirements, and so they had to give way. Necessarily, 
and not so unreasonably, the projecting shop-signs and 
house-marks, which belonged to an age when sign-reading 
was more generally understood than letters, were also con- 
demned, and I will quote an act of 1834 as an example of 
the spirit with which these things were condenmed. The 
act makes all signs, sign-irons, sign-posts, barbers' poles, 
dyers' poles, stalls, blocks, bulks, show-boards, butchers' 
hooks, spouts, water-pipes, and other projections in front 
of the houses in Bermondsey to be liable to removal at the 
demand of the local commissioners, and at the same time 
authorizes the impounding of cattle straying in the streets. 
It seems remarkable that the only remedy for deficient 
rain-water drainage should be the destruction of the build- 
ings and the introduction of a totally diflFerent style of 
street architecture. Street signs no doubt had to go, pic- 
turesque though they were, and yet it is noticeable that 
there is a revival of the practice occasionally to be met 
with, as, for instance, the ^ Gainsborough Head " which 
graces one of the business premises in South Molton 
Street, Oxford Street. But in the meantime a new method 
of using signs has been developed. Any one who travels 
through the streets of London, or indeed any modem city, 
must be struck with the enormous extent of street adver- 


tisements. The sky signs, without one single element of 
artistic construction, lime-light and electric light letterings, 
posters covering hoardings sometimes for considerable dis- 
tances, all combine to render as hideous as possible the 
modem street. And yet the modern street might be made 
so picturesque, nay, is so picturesque. Lord Beaconsfield 
once said that the Strand was the most picturesque street in 
Europe, and in a sense this is so. A ride on the top of an 
omnibus through any of the great routes traversing all parts 
of London reveals* to those who have the feeling for the 
picturesque beauties in London streets which are wholly 
local in character. The variety of architecture, the change 
of scene from shops brilliantly fitted up and at night bril- 
liantly lighted, to private houses bright with flowers, and 
very often bright with the lights of some festive gathering, 
then to patches of green which mark a square-garden, or 
the grounds of an old-fashioned house, still preserved in 
the midst of newer surroundings, and finally the long vistas 
opened up by the great western roads at the time of early 
morning or sun setting, and by the eastern, northern, and 
southern roads at other times of the day or night, all com- 
bine to make up the peculiar charm of London scenery. 
The pity of it is that it is not appreciated by those who can 
utilize it to make London what it could easily be, the most 
beautiful city in the world. 

One means of doing this is to preserve what little is left 
of historic interest, a house sanctified as the residence of a 
great man, or as the place where a great event has hap- 
pened, or as a relic of a past condition of life, even a street 
iiamej all help to create an interest in London which it is 
of the utmost benefit to foster and keep alive. It makes 
people the happier to know when they tread on historic 
ground. Some years ago my old friend Mr. W. J. Thorns 


(through some assistance of my own) saved the name of 
Tothill Street to Westminster, a name full of the most 
ancient memories, a guerdon to Westminster of a whole 
system of institutions belonging to the earliest times of 
Saxon England. And so it is with other street names. 
They take us back along the stream of time. 

It is pleasing therefore to record that the London County 
Council has set an excellent example of public influence in 
the preservation of historic buildings by obtaining parlia- 
mentary sanction to spend money for the purpose. By 
this means it is to be hoped that what little still exists will 
be allowed to remain, and particularly that the economies 
of preservation may be carefully considered before destruc- 
tion is decided upon. 

Of course it will be asked by the stem utilitarian of the 
time what is to be gained by keeping up old buildings and 
ancient memories, which are not in accord with our present 
requirements and surroundings ; of course it will be ob- 
jected by those who desire to use the magnificent site of 
London for squeezing out the largest possible amount of 
annual rent, that the preservation of such buildings has no 
justification i of course there will be a thousand aiguments 
in favour of destruction against the one or two voices raised 
for preservation. And yet on strict grounds of utilitarian- 
ism there is much to be said in favour of keeping these 
places. Tbey are better for the moral well being of the 
community than the hideous rows of ghastly cottage or 
villa residences which disgrace all but the immediately cen- 
tral portions of London. 

What a tremendous meaning there is in the fact that 
when Queen Victoria first began her reign there were liv- 
ing in London two great Londoners — two of the greatest 
Londoners, Thackeray and Dickens. Thackeray was 


married in 1837, and then lived in Great Coram Street, 
close to the Foundling Hospital. Later on he had cham- 
bers at 10 Crown Office Row, Temple, and at 88 St. 
James's Street, both which houses have since been demol- 
ished. From 1847 ^^ '^53 ^^ ^^^^ ^^ No. 13 (now 16) 
Young Street, Kensington, and wrote there Vanity Fair^ 
Esmond^ and Pendennis. From 1853 to 1861 he lived in 
Onslow Square, Brompton, and from 1861 until his death 
in 1863 he occupied a house in Palace Gardens. Who 
would not think pleasingly, if not tenderly, of a city which 
contains such memorials as these ? They are not manu- 
factured, nor are they even developed, by the aid of any- 
thing that a city, however great, can do. And yet it is 
memorials such as these that London most neglects. A 
few tablets here and there, put up by the liberality and 
public spirit of the Society of Arts, the purchase of one 
house hallowed by the memories of a great man, namely 
Carlyle's house in Cheyne Walk, and Londoners think no 
more of these things. 

I think of London where Thackeray's masterpieces were 
written as a place glorified. And then, too, there is the 
London which is to be found in the pages of Charles Dick- 
ens. The late Mr. Sala gives us a picture of what London 
meant when Dickens was one of its denizens. He was 
encountered in the oddest places and in the most inclement 
weather: in RatcliiF Highway, in Haverstock Hill, in 
Camberwell Green, in Gray's Inn Lane, in the Wands- 
worth Road, at Hammersmith Broadway, in Norton Fol- 
gate, and at Kensal New Town. A hansom whisked you 
by the Bell and Horses at Brompton, and there was Charles 
Dickens striding as with seven-leagued boots seemingly in 
the direction of North End, Fulham. The Metropolitan 
Railway disgorged you at Lisson Grove, and you met 


Charles Dickens plodding steadily towards the Yorkshire 
Stingo. He was to be met rapidly skirting the grim back 
wall of the prison in Coldbath Fields, or trudging along the 
Seven Sisters Road at HoUoway, or bearing under a steady 
press of sail through Highgate Archway or pursuing the 
even tenor of his way up the Vauxhall Bridge Road. 

This is delightful word-picturing. Hansom cabs and 
metropolitan railways that did not exist at the beginning of 
the Queen's London have the sanctity of a great personality 
brought to them while London was yet the Queen's 

Furnival's Inn was the residence of Dickens in his 
bachelor days when he was a reporter for the Morning 
Chronicle, It is now pulled down. In 1837 he removed 
to 48 Doughty Street, where he wrote Oliver Twisty 
Nicholas Nickleby^ and some sketches. In 1840 he went to 
I Devonshire Terrace in the Marylebone Road, which has 
recently been altered, and in 1851 to Tavistock House, 
Tavistock Square, where he wrote Bleak House^ Little 
Dorritj A Tale of Two Citiesj and Great Expectations. At 
Devonshire Terrace he wrote Master Humphrey's Clocks 
Martin Chuzzlewity Dombey and Son^ and David Copperfield. 

These two of the long roll of distinguished Londoners 
are known to the present generation, and it seemed worth 
while to illustrate the interest of London when it is viewed 
from the personal interest derived from such writers as 
these. The interest could be extended in many directions 
though the chances are disappearing all too rapidly. 

In the central and more wealthy districts of London 
there is a vast improvement in street architecture. Any 
one acquainted with the rebuilding of Lord Cadogan's 
estate at Chelsea, and of the Grosvenor estate in St. 
George's will concede this. The shop property and pri- 


vate houses built within the last few years in Mount Street, 
Audley Street, and the neighbourhood are of the most in- 
teresting types, while in all the great centres, Oxford Street, 
Bond Street, the Strand, rebuilding is proceeding at an 
astonishing pace. And fortunately rebuilding means, as a 
rule, improvement in style. There seems at least a hope 
that London may be made more worthy of her position 
than has hitherto been the case. 

The filling up of London with buildings has not been 
accomplished without regard to the essentials of health in 
one particular. Open spaces, very aptly termed the 
lungs of the great city, have been extended, and are 
being extended in all directions. Hyde Park, St. James's 
Park, and Regent's Park called forth the enthusiastic 
admiration of foreign visitors at the beginning of the 
Queen's reign, and they are still the subject of the 
same degree of admiration. To the royal parks, however, 
have been added the municipal parks, and these have be- 
come of service to the people in a sense that was not 
contemplated a few years ago. Anyone who can remem- 
ber the London Sunday in the summer say twenty years 
ago, and will compare it with that of to-day, will think 
that London has changed her old reputation of spending 
Sunday for an approach to the continental method. The 
gaiety of Hyde Park on a July Sunday evening is indescri- 
bable. It is equal to anything to be seen in Paris for 
brightness of colour and attractiveness ; it surpasses any- 
thing to be seen in Paris or elsewhere for a sense of real 
comfort and enjoyment. And in the other parks and open 
spaces there are the same elements, if diflFerently expressed. 
Battersea Park particularly is a happy expression of a peo- 
ple's holy day, while Wormwood Scrubs, Hampstead Heath, 
Victoria Park, and Greenwich Park complete the circle of 


open-air enjoyment all round London, with numerous 
additional examples intervening in diflPerent localities. 
London indeed is beginning to assume a more domestic 
appearance, a more residential look, than it did in the sixties, 
and this is chiefly due to the increase of the parks and 
their superior administration. 



A WET afternoon in the season — and what could be 
more disconsolate ? Through the weeping glass 
of the hansom there was no prospect, save soot- 
blackened, mud-streaming, empty streets. No city looks 
gay on such a day, but none ever looks so forlornly gloomy 
as London. In Paris there would be bright colours of ad- 
vertisement and sheets of looking-glass to relieve the 
monotone of road and pavement, wall and window. In 
London, on such a day even gold and scarlet look grey, 
and mirrors find no light to reflect withal. In Paris or 
Berlin or Vienna you would have seen cafe^fronts, under 
verandahs, alive with people sipping and puffing the storm 
away ; in London there is a drowned rat of an errand-boy 
plashing across the street, a well-dressed couple swimming 
through the closed and cascading window of a brougham — 
for the rest, nothing. The place might be asleep or dead. 
In London we are civilized enough to fear a wetting, and 
barbarous enough to have no other way of keeping dry but 
to stay at home. 

Presently two cabs appeared together, then three ; and 
under the cheerless face of the Albert Hall huddled a whole 
tail of them. Through puddles I went in — and behold I 
an Empire ballet in full swing 1 Up above were the boxes 
and circles, familiarly dusky, and the dish-cover roof. But 
below, the stalls had all disappeared, under a stage floor of 


yielding planks. All round the floor, and in the middle of 
it, were little kiosques, bowers of drapery, arbours of 
drooping silk and muslin in every soft and tender colour 
knowm beneath the sun. National ensigns surmounted 
them, and they were filled and lined and festooned with 
fabrics and china and bonnets and books and table-napkins 
and every abstruse kind of bric-a-brac. In and among the 
kiosques, mostly carrying bric-a-brac also, were scores of 
beautiful ladies. Only ! why at the Albert Hall instead of 
in Leicester Square ? Well : it was, as you have guessed, 
a bazaar in aid of a hospital. 

At the first sight of it, who so proud as the Londoner ? 
What other city on earth could show such women ? Well- 
grown, well-nourished, well-groomed, well-dressed, and 
supremely beautiful, they made such a show as could be 
seen nowhere else out of dreams. Paris could not ap- 
proach it } Vienna perhaps would come nearest. But if 
the ladies of Vienna are as well-nourished, well-groomed, 
well-dressed, they are less divinely tall and, to the British 
eye at least, less fair. The surprise, almost the shock, of 
the spectacle was the height of the wealthy young women 
of London. Everybody knows some very tall young 
women; but here there seemed no short ones. They 
seemed not merely far taller than their mothers, but much 
taller than their brothers also. I had always persuaded my- 
self that five-foot-nine was a convenient and seemly 
middle-height for a man, but among these sweeping god- 
desses I was a dwarf. To be tall nowadays a girl must fall 
hardly short of six feet. I suppose it comes of more ex- 
ercise in the open air, together with good food ; certainly 
the poorer classes, whether in town or country, do not 
show the same phenomenon. Unless samplers and walks 
with a governess should come in again, we shall be overrun 


in a generation with a breed of giantesses, and what will 
man do then, poor thing ? 

As for beauty, everybody has his own standard : and 
faultless profiles, fine eyes, brilliant hair are happily not so 
uncommon. But in the last perfection of colouring and 
texture of skin these beauties were supreme. Paint and 
powder may be the vogue, especially among those whose 
complexions these very things have ruined; yet most 
showed cheeks like rose-petals. An eye greedy for faults 
might find them in the perchance over-straight lines of the 
modem figure ; the faces were beyond criticism. 

A little cold-blooded, you will be thinking, this appraise- 
ment of gracious ladies at a work of charity, as if they 
were horses at a show. But that was just the distressing 
point of view that ten minutes in the place forced you to 
take. It was — ^you distressfully perceived — it was a rank- 
and-beauty-and-fashion show, and little else. You did not 
come to help the great hospital i a cheque would have done 
that more conveniently. You paid a guinea (or whatever 
it was) to look at the most beautiful women in London, 
and, if you had guineas enough, it was well worth it. If 
you wanted more for your money there was a duke up- 
stairs in the white linen jacket of a bar-tender, seUing 
American drinks. A duke in a white linen jacket selling 
cocktails^and they talk of abolishing the House of Lords ! 
And I wonder what his grandfather would say if he could 
hear of it. 

The public paid to see the show ; the assistants — there 
were at least twice as many assistants this afternoon as 
there were public-^came apparently to amuse themselves. 
Playing at being a waitress, a shop-girl, a flower-girl, 
picnicking a couple of days at the Albert Hall — it was im- 
mense fun. It must be said that they did the business 


quite as well as their prototypes. They hawked up and 
down, hauled the doubtful purchaser to their stalls, pressed 
baby linen irresistibly on the bachelor. They were never 
still and never silent. They met refusal with insistence, 
excuse with repartee. They were never at a loss, never 
disconcerted, and for an extra guinea would fasten your 
carnation into your buttonhole themselves. And I wonder 
what their grandmothers would have said to that. 

At one stall I saw two natives of India, brown, bottom- 
less-eyed creatures, with a sort of self-contained pride in 
their most obeisant demeanour. And, ye gods, what were 
they thinking of it all ? I tried to imagine a Maharajah 
selling attar and betelnut or a Begum hawking lotuses. I 
moved away from the neighbourhood, and wished that who- 
ever had brought those natives of a dignified country had 
left them at home. 

Rank and beauty auctioning itself to impertinent 
curiosity— but in the cause of charity. Still you could not 
expect the Indians to take count of that. Indeed, once 
that is said, could you expect the inhabitants of any well- 
ordered city to take count of it ? Consider. Here are the 
hospitals of London — an absolute necessity to a civilized 
city. On them depends the education of our physicians 
and suigeons; we cannot possibly do without them. The 
hospitals afford the only relief in grave sickness to the very 
poor, the best relief to everybody. And not a single 
patient in most of them ever pays a fee, and all of them 
but two are dependent for their existence on charity. 

If you told these things to an intelligent stranger from 
India he would laugh at you. This the greatest city in the 
world, and it leaves its greatest need to chance ? Are the 
patients grateful ? he would ask. No, you would have to 
reply ; they look on the care they get as their right. Is it 


good for them to do that ? No, you would have to say i 
it would be better for them to pay, if only a penny a-week. 
Are the hospitals very rich ? On the contrary, they are 
nearly all nearly always in debt. Then they are starved ? 
They are starved, and yet, relying on outbursts of chari^, 
they sometimes launch out into reckless and unnecessary 
expenditure. Then your hospital system, the intelligent 
Indian might be moved to remark, is a combination of 
pauperism and mendicancy. It is a combination of pauper^ 
ism and mendicancy, you would have to reply, but it is not 
a system. Is it worthy of the greatest city in the world ? 
It certainly would not be found anywhere else. 

The dialogue would leave you humiliated, but it would 
help the Indian to understand the Albert Hall. He would 
enjoy himself vastly, observing our way of maintaining 
hospitals. He would reflect that the preparation of the 
floor alone cost ;^i,ooo, without mentioning the decorations 
and the band and the value of the time of the singers and 
actors, and of the assistants, which perhaps is the lightest 
item. He might overhear one beauty asking another the 
price of a glove-box, and the reply, ^^It's marked one 
pound five, but you can have it for the five without the 
pound." He might notice towards the end of the evening 
towels of the finest quality selling for ten shillings a dozen, 
and hats from Paris going for half-a-crown, because the 
purchaser had not three shillings. 

His philosophic mind might arrive at the conclusion that 
the hospital would have benefited more if everybody had 
given cash instead of goods or time or decorations. ^ But 
then," he would soliloquize, ^^ I should have missed the 
pleasure of seeing how idle and indecorous is this thing 
they call London Society." ^/^